Saturday, May 31, 2003

Crash kills 2 in West Chester; driver charged



By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] A fatal car wreck in West Chester Township had police on the scene Friday morning.
(Courtesy of WCPO-TV)
| ZOOM |
WEST CHESTER TWP. - Two counts of vehicular homicide were filed against a motorist in a two-car crash that killed a man and a teenager and injured four other people Friday morning.

West Chester Police Sgt. Barry Walker said Cosme Monjaras, 25, of Hamilton, was charged because he did not make sure the road was clear before turning his blue Mazda east off Ohio 747 from the southbound lane into Blue Chip Lawn & Landscaping.

He said a maroon 2001 Ford Explorer traveling about 45 mph just north of Muhlhauser Road struck the Mazda's passenger side shortly after 8 a.m.

"They were literally inches from work," Walker said of Monjaras and his passengers, who worked at the landscaping company.

"It's one of the worst crashes I've seen in five years. Everybody was hurt," he said.

Five men, all Mexican immigrants, were in the Mazda, including the two who died: Miguel Ramos, 17, and Fidel Perez, 20, both of Hamilton. Police say they were brothers.

They were pronounced dead at the scene and the others - three men they worked with and the driver of the Explorer, Ina Combs, 62, of Fairfield - were taken to various hospitals.

Combs was treated and released at Mercy Hospital Fairfield; Monjaras was listed in stable condition Friday afternoon at Bethesda North Hospital; Isaias Ramos, 19, of Hamilton, was listed in critical condition at University Hospital; and Euseblo Nicanor, 34, of Hamilton, was at University, but his condition was not available, nursing supervisors said.

Their employers at Blue Chip were shocked and tearful Friday.

"They were just little boys," said Helen Pratt, whose husband, Richard, owns the business. "They hadn't worked here very long, but they were hard workers.

"People should give them a chance. A lot of people say they wouldn't have Mexican workers, but 95 percent of them do an excellent job. They are just trying to feed their families," she said.

E-mail jedwards@enquirer.com




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