Saturday, November 9, 2002

Driver in fatal crash had license six days

By David Eck
Enquirer contributor

SPRINGDALE - Jessica Carson was a licensed driver for less than a week when the car she was driving on rain-slickened Interstate 275 Tuesday afternoon crossed the median and crashed into oncoming traffic, instantly killing her and her passenger, Cassandra "Cassie" Conrad.

Cassandra "Cassie'' Conrad's funeral service will be at 10 a.m. today at Schmidt-Dhonau Funeral Home, 10980 Reading Road, Reading. Memorials can be made in Cassie's name to the Princeton Scholarship Fund.

Jessica Carson's funeral service will be 10 a.m. today at St. Xavier High School Chapel, 600 North Bend Road, Finneytown. Memorials may be directed to St. Xavier High School or in Jessica's name to the Princeton Scholarship Fund.

The Princeton High School junior received her license Oct. 30, Springdale Police Chief Mike Laage said on Friday.

The girls were in a 1994 Toyota Corolla traveling east on I-275 between Ohio 4 and the Kenn Road overpass when the car went out of control, crossed the median into the westbound lanes and collided with a 1994 Buick Regal.

The Buick driver, Richard Ortman, 34, of Brookville, Ind., was treated at University Hospital and released.

Cassie, 17, of Sharonville, a senior at Princeton, and Jessica, 16, of Springdale were pronounced dead at the scene. The close friends were returning from a shopping trip, Chief Laage said.

The impact of the crash was so severe that police couldn't immediately determine who was driving. Excessive speed and rainy conditions contributed to Jessica failing to maintain control of the vehicle, police said.

At Princeton, the mood remained somber Friday, said Superintendent Don Darby.

Since Aug. 1, 10 Tristate teenagers have died in accidents with teens behind the wheel.

"As parents, as school officials, as law enforcement officials, we really have to take a look at this recent increase and see where we're failing," Chief Laage said.

"We have to make sure that when these children receive their licenses they are mature enough to handle that deadly weapon."


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