Saturday, July 24, 2004

Driver flees cop, 4 die in crash

Chillicothe man, who survived wreck, had license suspended 15 times

By Janice Morse
Enquirer staff writer

SYCAMORE TWP. - Stacey Williamson, 15, didn't get into cars with drivers she didn't trust.

But police say Stacey, her older sister and two other passengers died early Friday after Jerald J. Hundley - whose driver's license has been suspended 15 times - took off in the car he was driving after a police officer stopped him for littering.

The 1990 Ford Probe, which the officer chased for a short distance on Fields Ertel Road before breaking off the pursuit, reached speeds over 100 mph before the driver lost control of the car, which left the road just west of Butler Warren Road and slammed into a utility pole, slicing it in two.

Sycamore Township firefighters look at the front half of a 1990 Ford Probe at the scene of a fatal wreck on Fields-Ertel Road just west of Butler-Warren Road in Sycamore Township around 5:30 AM Friday.
(Enquirer photo/GLENN HARTONG)
While the four passengers were thrown from the car and either lay dead or dying, Hundley, 24, of Chillicothe, walked away from the crash, police said, and ended up on the doorstep of Maria King's home - nearly three-quarters of a mile away from the crash.

King awoke to the sound of banging on her door about 6:15 a.m. She found a bloodied and battered Hundley slumped in a white plastic lawn chair in front of the door.

"He said: 'I'm hurt. I've been knocking on doors. Nobody else came to the door but you,' " King said. "He said he crashed his mountain bike in a ditch.

"I knew he was lying,'' she said. "You don't get that bloody from falling off a bike."

King called 911. An ambulance took Hundley to Bethesda North Hospital, where he remained in fair condition.

Officials charged him with 10 felonies in Friday's wreck, the most deadly in Greater Cincinnati since August 2002.

In that crash, a 17-year-old driver went off a Clinton County road, killing four passengers, all Goshen High School students.

Hundley faces four counts of leaving the scene of a crash and four counts of aggravated vehicular homicide in the deaths of: his ex-girlfriend, Nickole Williamson, 23; her sister, Stacey, 15, both of Sycamore Township; her current boyfriend, Nicholas D. Lucke, 24, of the Cincinnati area, and Hundley's friend, Timothy J. Chaney, 22, of Chillicothe.

No one was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

Officials also charged Hundley with illegally possessing 5.5 pounds of psilocybin (psychedelic mushrooms) and carrying a concealed handgun, which Hamilton County Sheriff's investigators found amid the wreckage.

Driving record

Hundley's state driving record shows his license had been suspended for the 15th time in May after an incident in Chillicothe. A 1999 suspension happened because he failed to report an accident. His record also shows eight convictions for various offenses, including speeding, a seat-belt violation and repeatedly driving with a revoked or suspended license.

His driving record also shows that the Chillicothe Municipal Court issued two warrants for his arrest recently. No further details were available. He was wanted on an outstanding warrant from Pike County for failing to show up for a court hearing related to a charge of making methamphetamine, officials said.

Friday's crash happened a half-mile from where the Williamson sisters lived with their mother, Kathy.

"These are my only two children. They were my life. What do I do now?" said Ms. Williamson, as she wiped tears away and looked at photographs of her children. "They didn't have any insurance. I guess you don't think about getting insurance when they're that young."

Relatives and a pastor tried to console Ms. Williamson, who said: "I think of the happy times. I can't handle the hard times right now."

In touch with mom

Stacey stayed in touch with her mother via cell phone Thursday, telling her where she was going and asking if her mother would pick her up if she didn't trust the driver or thought the driver had been drinking.

Nickole Williamson (left), 23, and her sister Stacey, 15, were killed in the crash.
(Photo provided)
She last talked to her mom around 10:30 p.m., saying she and her sister planned to listen to music at the Tower Grill, where Nickole Williamson used to wait on tables, about three miles from the Williamsons' home.

By 1:47 a.m. Friday, the car the girls were in was pulled over by Warren County Deputy Ron Day near Kings Auto Mall after he saw them throw out what he thought was a beer bottle.

The driver pulled over and Day walked toward the car.

"He just looked up at me and did not say anything,'' the deputy wrote, noting the driver appeared drunk. "He then started racing the motor, and I told him again to turn off the vehicle.''

Instead, the driver squealed out of the lot, plowed through some bushes and over a curb, before speeding out onto Fields-Ertel. Day tried to follow the car, but lost it and stopped the pursuit.

About five minutes later, the Probe had crashed. And witnesses were calling 911.

"It's, it's totaled, probably. I mean, it's bad. I don't hear nobody yelling, I don't hear nothing," a neighbor, Steve Bell, told a Hamilton County dispatcher from a pay phone at 1:52 a.m.

Day and Sgt. B.D. Lacy went to the crash site.

It appeared that only Nickole Williamson was still breathing. She was rushed to Bethesda North, where she died.

Investigators also found what Lacy described in his report as four gallon-sized bags of "peyote,'' a small cactus that produces hallucinogenic mescaline liquid. He said they also found a loaded, cocked, .380 semiautomatic pistol lying on the ground by one of the bodies.

Officials were astounded that anyone survived the crash:

"The fact the person was able to even maneuver some distance from the scene was just a miracle," said Sycamore Fire Chief B.J. Jetter.


Jennifer Edwards and Jane Prendergast contributed.



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