Friday, March 12, 2004

Joy ride in field led to fatal crash

By Janice Morse
and Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Feb. 14: Joseph Adams, 19, a 2002 Lemon-Monroe High School graduate, and his passenger, Kristen Norris, a 17-year-old Middletown High School senior, were killed when Adams' vehicle crashed into a utility pole in Middletown at an estimated 96 mph.

Feb. 16: Timothy Justin Hoff, 19, of Franklin, was killed and his passenger, Bethany Riley, a 17-year-old Franklin High School junior, was critically injured when his vehicle crashed into a tree in Franklin. Police said excessive speed and bald tires were factors. Bethany remained in serious condition Thursday at Miami Valley Hospital.

Feb. 22: Dominic C. Broderick, an 18-year-old Lakota West High School senior, was killed when his vehicle struck another car, then a utility pole in West Chester Township. Police said speed was not a factor but Broderick was intoxicated while he tried to pass another vehicle in a no-passing zone.

Feb. 27: Andy Ramsey, 17, was killed in a crash on Interstate 71 south of Columbus. Reading High School classmate Joey Wilson, 17, was driving. A car pulled in front of him and he lost control. Wilson's vehicle struck a guard rail and landed on its side. Ramsey, who was not wearing a seat belt, was partially ejected and died at the scene. Wilson, who was wearing his seat belt, was treated for minor injuries. At last check, prosecutors were trying to determine whether anyone would be charged.

Feb. 29: Christopher D. Voll, 18, of Delhi Township, was killed when he lost control of his vehicle on Covedale Avenue in West Price Hill and struck a tree. Police blamed excessive speed.

March 10: Benjamin Foulke, 17, of Deerfield Township, was killed when he went "four-wheeling" in a field behind Western Row Golf Course in Mason. Two friends suffered minor injuries.

Source: Police records, interviews

MASON - Police say a Deerfield Township teen was "four-wheeling" and died when the Jeep he was driving flipped in a field.

Benjamin Foulke, 17, was pronounced dead Wednesday night at the crash site behind the Western Row Road golf course.

He was the seventh Greater Cincinnati teen to die in an automobile accident within a month. His relatives declined interviews Thursday.

Police said Foulke's two 18-year-old friends, Ryan Blakeley and Ethan Howard, who both live in the Mason-Deerfield area, suffered minor injuries.

Mason Police Sgt. Michael Downey said investigators Thursday had confirmed Foulke was driving at the time of the crash and said he was not wearing a seat belt. Downey said this was the first time he had heard of the field being used for off-road joy rides. "It surprised me when I heard they were back there," he said.

At 10:34 p.m. Wednesday, Blakeley called 911 and told a Warren County dispatcher: "We've got a Jeep that's rolled in a field, (my friend is) pinned."

As emergency crews searched for the wreckage, Blakeley told the dispatcher the trio had been "four-wheeling."

Blakeley's voice cracked. "We told him a hundred times not to do it, and he just kept on going.

"He's like, 'No, y'all haven't even seen anything,' and he (expletive) flipped it. I don't even understand it."

Foulke had been enrolled as a junior at Mason High School but transferred in July to Life Skills Center, a private charter school in Middletown.

Eric Kaufman, master teacher at the Life Skills Center of Middletown, said Foulke was enrolled in the school until March 4, when he was suspended for truancy.

Under the charter's school rules Foulke could have re-enrolled in the school next week.

Both schools were making counselors available to students.

E-mail and contributed to this report.

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