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UPDATE: Driver charged with vehicular homicide

Associated Press • Nov 29, 2013 at 4:47 PM

UPDATE 1 p.m. — Victims of a fiery crash Thursday evening have been identified.

Wilbur and Margaret McCoy, both 77, of Stateline Road in Toledo died. 

Andrew Gans was just charged with two counts of vehicular homicide. Once released from the hospital he will be taken to Lucas County Jail. 

UPDATE 12:15 p.m. — Two people killed Thursday by a driver who was traveling about 125 mph before a crash that engulfed a minivan have been positively identified, State Patrol spokeswoman Lt. Anne Ralston said. 

The names of the victims have not been released pending notification of the families, she said. The commander of the Milan Post of the Highway Patrol is in the process of making those notifications, she said. 

The driver of the speeding vehicle escaped his car after striking the minivan and careening off the roadway. He was transported to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, where he gave a voluntary statement to investigators. A blood sample also was obtained from the driver, Ralston said. 

"We're working closely with the Sandusky County Prosecutor regarding this incident and expect to have information about possible charges in relation to the death of those two people," she said. 

The vehicle sped past a Patrol trooper who was also westbound on the Turnpike shortly before 7 p.m. Thursday and did not stop after the trooper engaged the lights and siren on the cruiser. The first trooper was unable to catch up to the vehicle and lost sight of it shortly after it sped past. A second Patrol trooper traveling in the eastbound lanes was able to access a crossover at the medium of the Turnpike at about the 107 mile marker, but it also was unable to pursue the vehicle, Ralston said. 

"An initial media report suggested there was a chase but that wasn't the case," she said. 

The first Patrol officer who arrived on the scene used a Patrol issued fire extinguisher in an attempt to douse the flames and rescue the two people who were in the minivan, Ralston said. A tractor-trailer driver who also had a fire extinguisher  assisted but they were unable to save the occupant of the vehicle. 

The driver of the Infinity escaped the vehicle and was later admitted at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center for psychiatric evaluation, Ralston said. 

UPDATE 6:15 a.m. — The Ohio State Patrol provided the following news release this morning: 

The Milan Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol is currently investigating a two vehicle fatal crash that occurred on the Ohio Turnpike at the 89.1 mile marker westbound. The crash occurred on Thursday at about 7:18 pm in Rice Township, Sandusky County.

A 2013 Infinity M56 caught on fire and sustained severe damage as a result of the crash. It was removed from the scene by Madison’s Towing. The driver, Andrew D. Gans, 24, from Kent Ohio. Mr. Gans was transported by Sandusky Township EMS to Saint Vincent’s Medical Center in Toledo. Due to severe fire damage it is currently unknown if Mr. Gans was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

The second vehicle, a 2009 Chrysler Town and Country, also caught on fire and sustained severe damage as a result of the crash. It was also removed by Madison’s Towing. Two unidentified occupants in the minivan were killed.  

Both vehicles were westbound on the Ohio Turnpike. Gans, the driver of the Infinity, was traveling at a high rate of speed when he failed to maintain assured clear distance ahead and struck the minivan from behind, and then ran off the right side of the road and caught on fire just after the driver was able to exit his vehicle. The minivan came to rest in the center lane where it caught on fire with the two occupants still in the vehicle. The two occupants were unable to escape the vehicle.

Sandusky Township EMS, Sandusky Township Fire Department, Turnpike Incident Response, The Sandusky County Prosecutor, The Sandusky County Coroner, and Madison’s Towing assisted at the scene.

The crash is currently under investigation, and alcohol use is unknown at this time.

Original post 6 a.m. — The Ohio State Highway Patrol said the occupants in the van were killed, but the number of victims was unknown. The 24-year-old man driving the speeding vehicle was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Police say the speeding vehicle hit at least three other vehicles over 17 miles around 7:15 p.m., according to a report from WTOL-TV. 

All three westbound lanes of the highway near mile marker 89 are shutdown.

Authorities recommend that motorists exit at Exit 110 and take Route 4 north to State Route 2 or south to U.S. 20 to continue west.

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