Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Death increases charge in accident

By David Eck
Enquirer contributor

Authorities say they will charge a Dayton, Ohio, man with misdemeanor vehicular homicide after a construction worker struck Feb. 3 on Interstate 75 died Monday.

Ron Gambrell of Northside died at University Hospital, where he had been taken after the accident. He was 52.

Gambrell and another worker, Bonnie Mills, were installing a security fence in the median of I-75 near Monroe when they were hit by a PT Cruiser during a chain-reaction crash.

Ms. Mills, a 37-year-old Hamilton resident, remains in serious condition in the intensive care unit at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers Tuesday said they would charge the Cruiser's driver, Michael Grabeman, with vehicular homicide. The 27-year-old could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

An Ohio Department of Transportation investigation showed that the company Gambrell and Mills worked for, Security Fence Group Inc., had complied with required safety measures, including placing warning signs and cones.

Three other drivers will be cited with lesser infractions, officials said. Those citations would have been mailed Monday, but were pulled back when Gambrell died, Trooper Chris Crisafi said.

"I found out (Monday) night that the gentleman passed away, so that put a hold on everything," Crisafi said. "We were under the impression they were going to live."

The accident was set in motion by a construction truck pulling out of the I-75 median into the southbound left lane near Ohio 63 about 8:50 a.m. Feb. 3, touching off the chain-reaction collision. Within seconds, the PT Cruiser, trying to avoid the initial collision, swerved into the median, striking the workers and hitting a second construction truck, authorities said.


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