Ohio State Highway Patrol on 9/06 CVPI Fatal Fire Crash

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Ohio State Highway Patrol
Media Release For Immediate Release: October 2, 2006
Contact: Lt. Tony Bradshaw or Sgt. Jon Payer (614) 752-2792


In-depth examination begins of vehicles involved in Gallia County triple-fatality crash

COLUMBUS – Nationally renowned crash reconstruction and engineering experts from around the United States began today an in-depth examination of the vehicles involved in last weeks triple-fatality crash in Gallia County.

Crash reconstructionists from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, experts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ford Motor Company, New York State Police, Missouri Highway Patrol, Ohio State Troopers Association, and State Fire Marshall Division, initiated their in-depth analysis of the 2005 Ford Crown Victoria Ohio State Highway Patrol cruiser, the vehicle which caught fire after a crash Thursday morning, and the involved 2004 Chevrolet Silverado

Investigators are meticulously taking both vehicles apart piece by piece, as they examine engineering and performance aspects of both vehicles from the collision. Based upon physical evidence and witnesses who saw the crash scene following the collision, the fire is believed to spread from the Patrol car to the pick-up truck. Witnesses reported hearing a loud explosion following the sound of a collision. There was heavy front-end damage to the Chevrolet Silverado, and heavy back-end damage to the Patrol cruiser. A resulting fire from the crash significantly burned both vehicles. Due to heavy rain and wet road conditions at the time of the crash, investigators have been limited by a lack of tire marks on the road.

Preliminary results of the crash reconstruction analysis are expected to take at least 10 days. Investigators remain confident they will be able to determine the causative factors that led to the September 28 crash.

The crash occurred on Jackson Pike at Mitchell Road in Gallia County at approximately 5:50 a.m. last Thursday. Killed were Sgt. Dale R. Holcomb, 45, a 21-year Patrol veteran, and Tpr. Joshua P. Risner, 29, a seven-year Patrol veteran, both of the Gallipolis Patrol Post, and motorist, Lori Smith, 32, of Vinton.

Patrol investigators said physical evidence collected at the crash scene indicates the Chevrolet Silverado, being driven by Ms. Smith, was traveling in the westbound lane of Jackson Pike. The Patrol cruiser, being driven by Tpr. Risner, with passenger Sgt. Holcomb, was traveling in the eastbound lane of Jackson Pike. Physical evidence indicates the collision occurred in the westbound lanes of Jackson Pike, just west of Mitchell Road.

Investigators have confirmed the emergency lights were activated on the cruiser at the time of the crash, and a witness has confirmed hearing the cruiser’s siren prior to the crash. A review of taped radio traffic revealed the officers had not been dispatched to an emergency call and there was no radio communications with the Post prior to the collision.

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Note to editors: B-roll video of today’s vehicle examination can be obtained by contacting the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Public Affairs Unit at (614) 752-2792. Television stations are encouraged to contact their Columbus affiliate for the video.