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Published: Friday, 6/30/2006

Drug paraphernalia, painkillers reported at crash that killed 3

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Ameling Ameling
JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge

LEMOYNE, Ohio Drug paraphernalia was found among the twisted metal and debris of a car crash that killed 4-year-old twin girls and their father in Troy Township Wednesday afternoon, the Ohio Highway Patrol said yesterday.

Troopers at the patrol s Walbridge post found syringes, spoons, and prescription painkillers in the aftermath of the crash that occurred on U.S. 20 between Stony Ridge and Woodville when a Dodge Neon swerved in front of a tractor-trailer between Bradner and Fostoria roads.

Killed were Tim Ameling, 36, of Gibsonburg, Ohio, who was driving the Neon, and his daughters, Ashley and Amber, who would have turned 5 in August and would have started preschool this fall. All three were pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy is pending on Mr. Ameling.

Troopers said the paraphernalia was sent to a crime lab for analysis, the results of which will come back in a few weeks.

The Ohio Highway Patrol reported finding drug paraphernalia and prescription painkillers at the scene.
The Ohio Highway Patrol reported finding drug paraphernalia and prescription painkillers at the scene.
Enlarge

Mr. Ameling s driver s license expired in 1999 and was never renewed, though he had an Ohio identification card, troopers said.

Family members said they did not know why he was driving, where he was going, or how he started the car because Mr. Ameling s wife, Jodi, kept the keys.

Though they did not find any evidence of ignition tampering, troopers said they did not find any keys.

Before his driver s license expired, Mr. Ameling was ticketed for driving with a suspended license in 1997 and 1998 and spent five days in jail for the 1998 offense, according to records in Tiffin Municipal Court.

Amber and Ashley Ameling would have turned 5 in August and were to start preschool in the fall. Both died at the scene. Amber and Ashley Ameling would have turned 5 in August and were to start preschool in the fall. Both died at the scene.
Enlarge

In 1999, he was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and went to jail for a day.

Two years later, his driving privileges were ordered suspended for six months from June until December, 2001, because he was found to be in possession of drugs.

Witnesses reported seeing the car veering in and out of the westbound lane shortly before the 1:10 p.m. accident.

The car swerved onto the gravel shoulder and then swung back across the centerline into oncoming traffic, troopers said.

The car s right front tire and door post were struck by an eastbound semi owned by Averitt Express Inc., a trucking company based in Tennessee.

Both vehicles went off the south side of the road and into a field.

The three Ameling family members were thrown from the car, though troopers said Mr. Ameling was wearing a seat belt and they found two car seats among the wreckage.

Due to the damage, [the seat belts] were torn or cut, said Sgt. Jon Gray of the patrol s public affairs unit. The car was pretty torn up.

The truck driver, Gerry G. Gregory, of Monticello, Ky., was not hurt.

Following standard procedures, Mr. Gregory was tested for alcohol and drugs, though troopers do not suspect he was under the influence of either, Lt. Dean Laubacher said. The results are not yet available.

The truck appeared to be traveling within the speed limit, which is 55 mph, troopers said.

Mr. Ameling stayed home with the girls while Mrs. Ameling worked as a nurse at Bethesda Care Center in Fremont and Windsor Lane Healthcare Center in Gibsonburg.

Mrs. Ameling declined to speak with The Blade.

The Herman-Kinn-Veh Funeral Home in Gibsonburg is handling arrangements for the family.

Visitation will be from 1 to 3 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sunday at the funeral home, 319 West Madison St.

The funeral is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Zion Lutheran Church in Gibsonburg.

A memorial fund has been established for the family through Fifth Third Bank. Donations can be made at any Fifth Third branch.

Contact Erika Ray at: eray@theblade.com or 419-724-6088.



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