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Published: Thursday, 10/6/2005

Arraignment set for driver in fatal crash on U.S. 24

NAPOLEON - A 24-year-old factory worker faces three counts of negligent vehicular homicide with a specification that he was driving with a suspended driver's license in the deaths of three of his passengers in a July 8 crash on U.S. 24 in Henry County.

Michael S. Strong is to be arraigned Oct. 27 in Henry County Common Pleas Court. Mr. Strong, who was living in Napoleon at the time of the crash but recently moved to Defiance, appeared Monday in Napoleon Municipal Court, where he was bound over to Common Pleas Court and released on a personal-recognizance bond.

In addition to the three deaths, five people were hurt in the four-vehicle crash on U.S. 24 at Henry County Road 17-D, six miles southwest of Napoleon. Pronounced dead at the scene were Mr. Strong's girlfriend, Julie Richmond, 25; her mother, Patricia Richmond, 51; and Ethan Marr, 7, all of Napoleon.

The crash happened just after 4 p.m. when Chad Hoyt, 25, of Napoleon, and Mr. Strong were westbound on U.S. 24, the Henry County sheriff's office said. Mr. Hoyt stopped his sport utility vehicle to turn south onto Road 17-D, and Mr. Strong's car crashed into the rear of the SUV. Mr. Strong's car went into the eastbound lane and was struck on the driver's side by an eastbound pickup.

Another eastbound vehicle avoided the other three vehicles by driving off the road but hit a guardrail.

Mr. Strong has not had a valid driver's license since May because of a drug-abuse paraphernalia offense. His license has been suspended several other times in recent years.

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