Alcohol confirmed in Fremont triple-fatal

RICE TWP. The at-fault driver in a triple-fatal crash last month in Fremont was intoxicated, blood t
Sarah Weber
May 24, 2010



The at-fault driver in a triple-fatal crash last month in Fremont was intoxicated, blood tests confirmed.

Charlene T. Barker, 51, Port Clinton, who was pronounced dead at the scene, had a blood alcohol content of 0.097, according to results provided Tuesday by the Ohio State Highway Patrol Crime Lab.

The legal limit is 0.08.

The second driver in the two-vehicle crash, Roscoe G. Cannon Jr., 58, Fremont, who also died at the scene, had no alcohol in his blood at the time of the collision.

Highway patrol Sgt. Brett Gockstetter said the serious crash should serve as a warning to area residents about the dangers of drunken driving.

“Obviously, it’s one of those situations where it’s completely senseless,” Gockstetter said.

Gockstetter said Barker was driving a 1999 Pontiac Grand Prix south on Ohio 53 at 1:35 p.m. March 1, about half a mile south of County Road 119.

Barker allowed the vehicle to drift over the center line, where it collided with a 2006 Honda CRV driven by Cannon.

“It was 1:30 in the afternoon on a Sunday. It could have been anybody coming from church or going to church. It could have been you — it could have been me,” Gockstetter said. “I’ve been on the job for 10 years, and I’ve seen this stuff all too often. It affects us every day.”

Tim L. Vance Sr., 45, Port Clinton, a rear passenger in Barker’s vehicle, was the third fatality. Front-seat passenger Danny H. Barker, 55, Port Clinton, survived the crash with serious injuries.

“We’re always trying to find ways to combat drunk driving,” Gockstetter said. “We like to research where these crashes happen and try to allocate our resources to patrol those areas.”

But law enforcement can only do so much to stem the illegal and dangerous practice, he said. It’s up to people to decide not to do it.

“It continues to happen, and the only thing I would urge motorists to do is think about the consequences ...”, Gockstetter said. “This took the lives of three people and affected the lives of a bunch of others.”