BOWLING GREEN (WWJ/AP) – A northwest Ohio coroner says a wrong-way driver killed in a head-on interstate crash didn’t have alcohol or drugs in her system at the time of the collision, which also killed three sorority sisters.
Authorities say 69-year-old Winifred Lein was driving south along northbound I-75 in March when she crashed into a car of Bowling Green State University sorority members headed to the Detroit airport for a spring break trip to a resort in the Dominican Republic.
Wood County coroner Dr. Douglas Hess told The Toledo Blade that toxicology tests don’t explain why Lein was driving the wrong way. He said her body contained an appropriate level of medication for a seizure disorder, but he doesn’t believe she had a seizure while driving.
“I can’t imagine someone being able to drive, to travel the highway, having a seizure. It appeared she was driving fine, but for whatever reason, she got on in the wrong direction,” said Hess.
The State Highway Patrol had said that it was investigating where Lein got on the interstate and how fast she was going. Investigators hoped toxicology reports would provide more clues about the crash. The patrol said it had no immediate comment Friday, but would release a statement later.
Lein, who worked in a contract capacity at the Toledo Jeep Assembly complex, had left the plant shortly before 2 a.m. on March 2, authorities said. Motorists on I-75 near Perrysburg began calling 911 soon afterward to report a wrong-way driver heading south toward Bowling Green in the northbound lanes of the divided highway.
Investigators say it’s possible Lein simply became confused while traveling in the wee morning hours.
Christina Goyett, a 19-year-old from Bay City, was among those killed in the crash. Police say Goyette was driving the car hit by Lein.
Also killed in the crash were 21-year-old Sarah Hammond of Yellow Springs, Ohio and 20-year-old Rebekah Blakkolb of Aurora, Ohio. Two other students in the car — 19-year-old Kayla Somoles of Parma, Ohio and 19-year-old Angelica Mormille of Garfield Heights, Ohio — were seriously injured in the crash but are recovering.
Bowling Green State University is creating a scholarship to honor the five sorority sisters. About 1,000 people attended a memorial March 16 on the northwest Ohio campus where University President Mary Ellen Mazey announced the “Strength in Sisterhood Scholarship.”
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