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Published: Friday, 10/13/2006

Trooper in crash that killed 3 was drunk, patrol says

ASSOCIATED PRESS
The burned-out hulk of a State Highway Patrol cruiser involved in a fatal crash last month in Gallia County, west of Gallipolis. The burned-out hulk of a State Highway Patrol cruiser involved in a fatal crash last month in Gallia County, west of Gallipolis.
JEFF HINCKLEY / AP Enlarge

COLUMBUS The State Highway Patrol said today a trooper driving a patrol car that crashed with another car, killing himself, another trooper and the other driver, was legally drunk at the time.

The patrol said a blood test on trooper Joshua Risner showed a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent, the level considered drunk under Ohio law.

Neither Risner's passenger, trooper Sgt. Dale Holcomb, nor the driver of the other car, Lori Smith, had been drinking before the crash last month near Gallipolis in southeast Ohio, a patrol news release said.

The patrol planned a news conference for later today to discuss the report.

Risner was driving 60 to 71 miles per hour with the car's emergency lights and siren activated when he lost control and spun into the opposite lane, the patrol said.

The patrol car hit a pickup truck driven by Smith, who was traveling 10 to 20 miles per hour and was moving over to the right as the patrol car approach.

Risner, near the end of his shift, had just picked up Holcomb at his house. Holcomb was beginning his shift, the release said.

Patrol investigators believe the troopers were on their way to help an off-duty trooper headed to a local hospital with a sick baby. The patrol had previously determined the troopers hadn't been dispatched to any emergency calls.

Investigators said both vehicles were burned in a fire fed by gasoline from the patrol car's ruptured tank.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.



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