Thursday, January 25, 2001

Five die in four accidents in 24 hours

By Earnest Winston, The Cincinnati Enquirer
and David Eck, Enquirer Contributor

        It was a grim 24 hours on Tristate highways: Four fatal accidents left five people dead, including two teen-age drivers.

        Besides the Tuesday wrecks that killed Susan Grambsch, 49, a teacher at Cincinnati Christian Schools in Fairfield, and her son, Joseph, 16, there were three other fatal accidents between Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.

        The latest crash occurred about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday on northbound Interstate 75 near the Monroe exit, south of Ohio 63.

        Authorities say the driver of a tractor-trailer, Thomas Harpole, 44, of Lake Cormorant, Miss., was traveling south when he apparently lost control, crossed through the grassy median and struck a northbound vehicle. Wayne Swanson, 42, of Dayton, Ohio, was killed.

        The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating the accident.

        Mr. Harpole was flown by helicopter to University Hospital, where he was in stable condition.

        Earlier Wednesday, a Mother of Mercy High School senior died while on her way to school after she lost control of her car and hit a utility pole.

        Laura E. Erb, 17, of Miami Township, went off Bridgetown Road in Miami Township shortly before 7:30 a.m.

        She was alone in the car and was wearing a seat belt, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office said.

        Mother of Mercy Principal Sister Nancy Merkle, R.S.M., said Laura was a popular girl who enjoyed fine arts. She was in the school's color guard and was a former swimmer.

        “Just a lovely girl,” Sister Merkle said. “She would always go the extra mile, so helpful, caring. She's very outgoing.”

        School officials gathered the seniors to tell them about the accident before announcing the news to the rest of the school.

        Tuesday evening, Elwood Singleton, 39, of Somerville died after his pickup truck was struck by another on Ohio 503 in Wayne Township, Butler County.

        Brad Kraemer, spokesman for the Butler County Sheriff's Office, said Terry Bolser, 33, of Oxford was traveling south when he went left of center and struck the truck driven by Mr. Singleton.

        Mr. Bolser was flown from the accident scene to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, where he was in serious condition.

School copes with two deaths
- Five die in four accidents in 24 hours

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