CLYDE, Ohio — The man who was behind the wheel during a high-speed crash that killed a Toledo couple Thanksgiving night told authorities he had been drinking before the crash, officials said.
Andrew Gans, 24, of Kent, Ohio, was arraigned Monday in Clyde on two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide. Wilbur and Margaret McCoy died in the fiery wreck on the Ohio Turnpike.
Lt. Brett Gockstetter of the Ohio Highway Patrol’s Milan post said Mr. Gans made a statement about drinking when he was interviewed by troopers at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, where he was treated for injuries suffered in the crash. Mr. Gans then voluntarily provided a blood sample, which was sent to the patrol’s lab in Columbus for toxicology tests. Results are expected in about two weeks, the lieutenant said.
The McCoys’ minivan was westbound at 7:19 p.m. on the turnpike in Sandusky County’s Rice Township, about 3 miles west of the turnpike’s State Rt. 53 interchange, when it was struck from behind by a vehicle moving more than 125 miles per hour, according to the Ohio Highway Patrol.
The van burst into flames, as did the speeding 2013 Infiniti M56. The Toledo couple, who were both wearing seat belts, were trapped inside their burning vehicle as a result of the crash, according to the patrol.
Lieutenant Gockstetter said Mr. Gans crashed at mile marker 89, which is 89 miles from the Indiana-Ohio line. The wreck occurred 26 minutes and 62 miles after Mr. Gans got onto the westbound turnpike at the North Ridgeville/Cleveland toll gate at mile marker 151. He traveled that distance with average speed of about 143 mph, clipping another vehicle’s sideview mirror somewhere in the vicinity of mile marker 110, the lieutenant said.
Mr. Gans told troopers he was going to Toledo, Lieutenant Gockstetter said. He did not say what factors may have caused Mr. Gans to drive at such speed.
The first trooper to spot Mr. Gans’ vehicle was driving at mile marker 126 with no knowledge of the suspect when she saw the suspect’s car “fly by” exactly 10 minutes after he got on the turnpike, the lieutenant said. The second trooper to see the speeding Infiniti was dispatched to watch for the car and had just pulled onto a crossover at mile marker 110 when the vehicle passed.
The trooper then activated his lights and siren and started a pursuit, at which time the Infiniti went out of sight, as recorded by the trooper’s on-board camera, Lieutenant Gockstetter said. The trooper got to the crash scene about a minute after it occurred, the lieutenant said.
Bond was set at $1 million for Mr. Gans — $500,000 on each count of aggravated vehicular homicide — when he was arraigned via video Monday in Sandusky County Court District 1 in Clyde. Mr. Gans will remain in the Sandusky County jail until a preliminary hearing Dec. 17.
Terrence Rudes, an attorney who represented Mr. Gans during his arraignment, said after the court session was adjourned he didn’t believe his client initially knew anyone had died in the wreck.
Mr. Gans declined to make a statement when Judge John Kolesar, who presided at the hearing, asked him whether he wanted to make one.
Mr. Rudes said the suspect has no siblings, and both of his parents are deceased.
“It’s a serious offense,” Mr. Rudes said, adding that he considers the charges preliminary and thinks it possible that they will be modified “as more evidence is gathered.”
“It’s a terrible tragedy,” he said. “And we express our condolences to the family and the loved ones of the McCoys.”
Two relatives of Wilbur and Margaret McCoy were in the courtroom. They declined to comment.