The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

March 10, 2013

Name of man in fatal Ashtabula crash released

David Coleman was killed instantly, passenger remains in hospital

Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — Ashtabula County Coroner’s Office investigator Jim Baehr confirmed the identity of the man killed in Friday’s fatal rollover crash Saturday afternoon.

David Coleman, 53, of Ashtabula was killed instantly at 6:30 p.m. when he swerved his SUV around a compact car, lost control of the vehicle and went off the left side of Carpenter Road, shearing a utility pole in half and coming to a stop on its roof, Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Chris Thayne said.

Coleman died of “blunt trauma head trunk and extremities,” Baehr said. Because the cause and manner of death is apparent, no autopsy will be conducted. Alcohol is a suspected cause of the crash, Baehr said, and toxicology reports are pending. Results of those tests are expected in two to three weeks.

Coleman and his passenger, Clovis Miller, 60, also of Ashtabula, were both wearing their safety belts at the time of the crash, and both are suspected to have been intoxicated, Thayne said.

Miller was transported to the Ashtabula County Medical Center and then transported by medical helicopter to the Cleveland MetroHealth Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition on Friday night, Thayne said.

His condition was unknown on Saturday.

Thayne said the scene was difficult to navigate, as the road was closed for some time due to power lines and the toppled utility pole.

“The power was cut in the area due to safety measures,” Baehr said. “But the nature of the scene did not hinder first responders from getting to the victims.”

Thayne called the crash “devastating.”

“The SUV was literally shorn in half, there is no other way to describe it,” he said.

The driver of the compact car was lucky, Thayne said.

“The only damage to the Toyota was a little tire scruff on the driver’s door and the fender was crushed and the front bumper ripped off. It just got grazed,” he said. “All the damage to the SUV was done after that initial contact with the Toyota.”

Thayne said troopers aren’t sure if Coleman was trying to go around the Toyota, which had slowed and was pulling into a driveway, or if he was swerving to avoid hitting the smaller car.

Thayne said Friday’s crash is the fifth fatal crash on Ashtabula roads so far this year, and Coleman is the sixth person to die.

“All of those crashes — every single one of them — are all alcohol related or presumed alcohol related,” he said. “It is frustrating. More people are dying and we are actually arresting more people. OVI charges are up and we are arresting more people and this is still happening. Obviously this is a big issue in this county.”