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Published: Tuesday, 10/18/2011

Alcohol suspected in I-75 crash

Police think wrong-way driver was under influence


Police suspect 35-year-old Christopher Jones was under the influence of alcohol when he drove his car the wrong way on I-75 Saturday, causing a fatal crash.

Mr. Jones of 1754 Kensington St., whose Toledo Municipal Court record is limited to minor traffic offenses, is in critical condition at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center. He has not been charged in the crash.

Dawn Lerma, 40, and two of the three children in the car — Nikole Lerma, 9, and Lawrence Moser, 14, were listed in serious condition Monday night at St. Vincent, according to a hospital spokesman. Bryan Davis, 9, was upgraded to fair condition Monday night.

Matthew Davis, 37, Ms. Lerma’s boyfriend, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, did not survive the crash. The Lucas County Coroner’s Office is scheduled to perform his autopsy Tuesday.

Ms. Lerma was driving a silver 2008 Mitsubishi Galant in the left northbound lane just south of the Phillips Avenue exit ramp at 10:50 p.m. when the vehicle was hit head on by an SUV driven by Mr. Jones, police said.

911 audio -- Wrong way driver on I-75

911 audio -- Accident at mile marker 206

911 audio -- Woman trapped in car

A hospital spokesman said the families were declining all interview requests.

At Mr. Jones’ Kensington Street address, toys and a stroller were on the front porch. Two notes scribbled on scrap paper were left jammed between the door and frame asking about Mr. Jones.

Toledo police Lt. Jeff Su­lewski said investigators are still trying to determine where Mr. Jones got on the highway and how long he was driving the wrong way. Police currently think Mr. Jones entered the highway from either Phillips or Lagrange Street.

The lieutenant said only one call was made to 911 to report the wrong-way driver and the very next call was to report the crash.

A police report states police suspect that Mr. Jones was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, but that results from a blood test to determine whether he was driving under the influence will take about seven to 10 days.

— Taylor Dungjen

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