Sunday, August 13, 2000

Trucker charged in deaths

Mother, fetus died in I-74 crash

By Mara H. Gottfried
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A truck driver was charged Saturday with two counts of vehicular homicide following a crash that killed a fetus and a 52-year-old teacher.

        Two women remained hospitalized Saturday after Friday's three-vehicle accident on Interstate 74 in Green Township just east of North Bend Road. The accident occurred shortly before 5 p.m.

        Police reports say Ernest L. Westerberg, 52, of Oak Grove, Mo., was driving westbound on I-74 and attempted to change lanes.

        His tractor-trailer struck a 1996 Nissan Maxima, forcing it into a collision with a 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier in the eastbound lane, police said.

        Linda A. Dodd, a teacher for 17 years at St. Vivian's in Finneytown, was pronounced dead at the scene.

        Her 20-year-old daughter, Patricia Dodd, was in serious condition Saturday at University Hospital. Patricia Dodd was pregnant and lost the baby.

        Mr. Westerberg was arrested and taken to the Hamilton County Justice Center at about 2 a.m. Saturday. He was arraigned and released at 10:30 a.m. Information about whether bond was set was not available Saturday.

        In June 1996, former Gov. George Voinovich came to Cincinnati to sign the Daly bill, making it a crime to harm or kill a fetus at any stage of pregnancy, with the exception of legal abortions.

        Joseph Daly pushed for the legislation after his wife, Suzanne, was killed in a car accident near Indian Hill. Their unborn boy, due to be born less than a month after the accident, also died.

        The other woman injured in Friday's crash, the driver of the Cavalier, underwent surgery late Friday. Stephanie N. Humphrey, 28, of Mason, was listed in fair condition at University Hospital.


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