Monday, August 21, 2000

Accident claims 4 victims

3 adults, 1 child die after head-on crash

By Tom O'Neill
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WILMINGTON, Ohio — A 7-year-old girl Sunday became the fourth person to die after a head-on crash.

        Brianna Smith died at 3:30 a.m. at Children's Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, a nursing supervisor said.

        Brianna was in a car trying to pass another vehicle in a no-passing zone here, said Lt. Jeffrey Greene of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

        Two children in the back seat with her, Kendra Smith, 6, and Billy Smith, 4, remained hospitalized.

        Kendra is in fair condition at Children's Hospital in Dayton. Billy's condition at Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati was not available.

        None of the children in the 1992 Eagle Talon was wearing a seat belt when the vehicles collided on Saturday, Lt. Greene said. “Seat belts would have made a significant difference in the results of this tragedy, especially the condition of the children. This is another unfortunate and tragic occurence that could have been prevented.”

        The driver of their car was their father, Billy Smith, 30, of Lynchburg, Ohio. He and front-seat passenger, Angela Carter, 23, died in the crash.

        Mr. Smith and Ms. Carter were wearing automatic shoulder harnesses — called passive restraints — but not lap belts, Lt. Greene said.

        The other person killed in the crash was Mearlyn D. Short, 49, of Wilmington.

        His wife, Debra Short, 46, was flown to Ohio State University Hospital in Columbus, where she was in fair condition Sunday.

        The Shorts' passenger, James Marsh, 15, was listed in critical condition at Children's Hospital in Dayton.

        Everyone in the Shorts' 1986 Buick LeSabre was wearing seat belts, Lt. Greene said.

        Police say Mr. Smith attempted to pass another southbound vehicle in a no-passing zone on Ohio 73 in Wilmington, about a mile north of New Vienna in Clinton County.


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