Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Too fast, two crashes, two die

Car driver's license was invalid; motorcyclist's was recently restored

By Janice Morse
Enquirer staff writer

Greater Cincinnati's spate of fatal teen crashes isn't letting up. Neither is the speeding.

A pair of young motorists died in separate traffic crashes Monday. And, in both, police blame excessive speed - a factor in at least 17 of 22 fatal wrecks involving area teens since January.

The two most recent crashes happened 10 hours apart at speeds about double the posted limit.

Around noon Monday, a driver whom police initially had mistaken for a passenger, David Upshaw, 18, of Roselawn, was killed in a Hartwell crash that seriously hurt his three passengers.

State records show Upshaw couldn't legally drive. Police estimate the car was traveling at least 57 mph in a 30-mph zone.

Around 10 p.m., Josef Gadson, 19, of Fairfield, was killed when his motorcycle crashed in Forest Park.

Gadson's motorcycle was westbound on Waycross Road at Stenger Road when he lost control and struck a guardrail, then a utility pole, Forest Park police said. Witnesses estimated the motorcycle's speed at 60 mph to 80 mph - well above the 35-mph speed limit on that stretch of road, police said. He was not wearing a helmet.

His driver's license was suspended in October after driving without a license. But his privileges were restored in January, and he obtained a motorcycle endorsement in March, state records show.

The crash remained under investigation Tuesday. Alcohol was not a factor, police said.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati police continued to investigate the crash that killed Upshaw. Police say he was driving a 2003 Ford Focus that crashed in the 7700 block of Vine Street.

All four underage occupants smelled of alcohol, and investigators were trying to obtain blood-alcohol test results, said Cincinnati Police Lt. Robert Hungler.

The car is registered to Melissa Davis, 20, of Milford, whom police had misidentified as the driver. She and two other passengers, Lacey Kelley, 22, of Milford, and Terence Walker, 18, of Carthage, were taken to University Hospital. Kelley's condition was critical Tuesday; the hospital released no information on Davis and Walker.

Upshaw's driver's license was invalid, state records show, because he failed to meet conditions for its reinstatement after two suspensions.

The suspensions, for driving without a license and drug abuse, were both imposed in 2002 when he was a juvenile.


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