Saturday, June 10, 2000

2 crashes leave 5 dead, 10 injured

Tragedy strikes in Fairfield, Delhi

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Mother, 2 kids died in this Fairfield wreckage.
(Michael Snyder photo)
| ZOOM |
        Vehicle crashes in Fairfield and Delhi townships killed five people and injured 10 others Friday.

        • In Fairfield Township, a 60,000-pound waste truck rear-ended a car about 10:35 a.m. on Ohio 4, crushing to death 7-year-old twin girls, killing their mother and critically injuring her 3-year-old nephew.

        • In Delhi Township, two 13-year-old girls were killed and nine other teen-agers in a Jeep Grand Cherokee were hospitalized after a single-vehicle crash at 1:25 p.m. on Hillside Avenue.

        One of the dead girls was identified as Anna Destefano of Covedale.

        All 11 people, many of whom were Delhi Middle School students, were in the Cherokee on the last day of school.

        In the Fairfield Township accident, a Rumpke truck rammed into the rear of a car as both vehicles approached the intersection of Ohio 4 and Creekside Drive, south of the Ohio 4 Bypass.

        Lucy Davis, 60, of Tam-O-Shanter Way in Monroe, was driving south on Ohio 4 with her twin 7-year-old daugh ters in the back and her nephew in the front seat of their 1990 Plymouth Acclaim when police said she either slowed or stopped for a newly installed yellow-flashing traffic light at Creekside.

        The truck pushed Mrs. Davis' car more than 50 yards through the Creekside intersection.

        Mrs. Davis and her adopted twins — Demetria and Tambra, were declared dead at the scene.

        Mrs. Davis' nephew, Antonio Davis, was taken by AirCare helicopter to Children's Hospital Medical Center. He was in critical condition Friday night.

        Ken Nielsen, who was doing landscape work nearby, said he and a handful of others rushed over to try to free the Davis family from the crushed car.

        “They were all trapped. We smashed in the passenger window. (Mrs. Davis) had a pulse,” but died moments later, said the 21-year-old student of Cedarville College, south of Dayton.

        The back of the car had folded over on to the two girls in the back seat, he said.

        Fairfield Township police said the driver of the truck, Michael A. Vail, 35, of the 3500 block of Stahlheber Road in Butler County,was not charged but the accident remains under investigation.

        Police said Mr. Vail, who could face up to three counts of vehicular homicide, was released after questioning.

        He has worked as a driver with Rumpke since 1989 and, according to company officials, recently won a company safety award for three consecutive years — 1997-98-99 — without an on-the-job accident.

        Fairfield Township Police Chief Richard St. John said the accident scene was among the worst he had seen in 25 years on the job.

        Police released few details about the Delhi Township crash, although they did say the driver was licensed.

        “There have been fatalities in the past few years for that (Hillside Avenue),” said Lt. John Culotta of Delhi Township.

        The name of the other girl killed was not released, pending notification of next of kin.

        Two of the injured, Kayla Bussard, 13, and Nicole Staples, 12, were hospitalized in fair condition at Children's Hospital Medical Center. Four others, Michelle Luhn, 16, Jarred Bellew, 17, Amanda Hensley, 14, and Heather Hensley, 12, were treated and released from area hospitals.


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