CIRCLEVILLE — A three vehicle fatal crash that took the lives of two young Teays Valley students and the life of the woman responsible for the accident, has now been deemed alcohol related, according to the Circleville Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Toxicology results returned indicate that Carol J. Fowler, 56, of Pickerington, had an alcohol level of .081 at the time of the accident, which is over Ohio’s prohibited amount for an OVI (operating a vehicle impaired).
The crash is now considered as alcohol related and not the factor of engineering or construction in the area.
The accident claimed the lives of Joshua Fyffe Jr., 17, of Ashville; Vladyslav Gaidai, 17, also of Ashville; and Fowler.
According to OSHP, a trooper from the Circleville Post was traveling southbound on U.S. Route 23 when he was struck by Fowler’s northbound vehicle that was traveling in the wrong direction along the highway in the southbound lanes.
The trooper activated his overhead lights in an attempt to capture the attention of the wrong-way driver; however, before the trooper had time to stop Fowler’s vehicle, she had struck two other vehicles head-on — Fyffe’s 2012 Ford Fiesta; and a 2018 Lincoln Continental driven by Scott Saunders, 34, of Gallipolis.
Fyffe was pronounced dead at the scene, and his passenger Gaidai, was flown to Grant Hospital, but later died from his injuries. Fowler was also transported to an area hospital — Berger Hospital — where she also succumbed to her injuries suffered in the accident.
A passenger in Saunders’ vehicle was transported to Berger Hospital where he was treated and released. The other three occupants in Saunders’ vehicle were treated at the scene for minor injuries.
The accident occurred at approximately 10:45 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 17.
In a statement to The Circleville Herald, OSHP Lt. Steven Herron said, “I know the community is curious as to how this occurred just as much as we are. We did have three witnesses that came forward that had observed Mrs. Fowler’s vehicle before the crash occurred.
“Those accounts said that Mrs. Fowler had been traveling southbound on U.S. 23, and in the area of Deercreek Auto & Truck Parts seemed to have turned around in a crossover and started traveling northbound in the southbound lanes. This means she traveled 1.7 miles before striking our trooper, and then half of a mile before the fatal crash occurred.
“Without being able to know exactly what she was thinking, some pieces of the puzzle may never be able to be known,” he concluded.
The Circleville Post was assisted by the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office, Harrison Township Fire Department, Circleville Fire Department, Pickaway Township Fire Department, Scioto Township Fire Department and ODOT.