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Published: Saturday, 7/19/2003

Trucker in fatal crash faces additional charges


The tractor-trailer driver accused of killing a 9-year-old Michigan girl in the 13-vehicle pileup on northbound I-75 Wednesday night that he caused was charged yesterday with injuring five people in the mishap.

David Patrick Jepson, whose last name also has been spelled Jepsen, 46, of St. Colomban, Que., was charged by Toledo police with five felony counts of aggravated vehicular assault. He was being held in the Lucas County Jail last night in lieu of a $100,000 bond on a felony charge of aggravated vehicular homicide filed Thursday.

Mr. Jepson waived his right to a preliminary hearing on the aggravated vehicular homicide charge and agreed to be bound over to the Lucas County grand jury during a hearing yesterday in Toledo Municipal Court. He is scheduled to be arraigned on the additional charges Monday in Municipal Court.

Four people remain hospitalized after the crash. Pamela Kenaiou, 48, of Allen Park, Mich., was in the Medical College of Ohio Hospitals. Her condition was unknown, but relatives said Thursday she was in the critical care unit. Her fianc , Charles Baker, 56, was in fair condition in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center.

Ms. Kenaiou's granddaughter, Jessica Ortega of Allen Park, was killed in the accident.

Crystal Lloyd, 19, of Toledo was in serious condition in St. Vincent. Tina Hoffman of Temperance was in fair condition in Toledo Hospital. The additional charges are for injuries suffered by Ms. Kenaiou, Mr. Baker, Ms. Lloyd, Ms. Hoffman, and Max Myers of Toledo, who was treated at MCO Hospitals.

Police said Mr. Jepson was driving north near South Avenue when he fell asleep and his semi hit several vehicles in the rear that were slowing or stopping for upcoming construction.

Lt. Kevin Keel, head of the police's traffic section, said the rig was searched yesterday. Mr. Jepson's log book is being inspected by local and state authorities, but the lieutenant said there is nothing that leads him to believe Mr. Jepson was over his time limits.

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