Thursday, January 11, 2001

Motorist faces charge of murder

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FLORENCE — A 54-year-old Erlanger man has been charged with murder after allegedly running a red light while driving drunk and causing a fatal four-car crash Monday morning on Dixie Highway, north of Industrial Road.

        William C. Knight Jr. was taken into custody on Wednesday at St. Luke Hospital West in Florence, where he was being treated for injuries. The accident killed Marjorie B. Neff, 77, of Independence.

        Mr. Knight could face the death penalty or life in prison if found guilty of the murder charge.

        Florence police Lt. Tim Chesser said investigators issued a warrant quickly because they were concerned Mr. Knight might flee the area. He had one address in Lexington, another in Erlanger and a car registered in Tennes see.

        Mr. Knight's condition was not available.

        A Boone County District Court judge has set Mr. Knight's bond at $25,000 cash. An arraignment date had not been set Wednesday night.

        Mr. Knight's blood-alcohol level was not available. Lt. Chesser said a blood sample has been sent to the state crime lab in Frankfort, but the results are not back.

        The state's 3-month-old DUI law lowers the blood-alcohol level at which drivers are presumed intoxicated from 0.10 to 0.08.

        Mr. Knight was going north on Dixie Highway when he drove his Oldsmobile sedan into the right turn lane to pass two cars stopped at the red light, according to the criminal complaint filed in Boone District Court.

        Mr. Knight did not turn but drove through the intersection and collided with another vehicle, causing a four-car chain reaction, according to the complaint. Mrs. Neff was a passenger in a Chrysler LeBaron driven by her husband, Robert Neff. Mr. Neff has been upgraded to serious condition at University Hospital.


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