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Published: Tuesday, 8/5/2003

`Bloody weekend' has 3 traffic deaths

BY ROBIN ERB
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A 20-year-old woman appeared in court yesterday charged with aggravated vehicular homicide in connection with one of three deadly traffic accidents in Toledo Sunday.

It was one of the deadliest weekends in recent memory.

“This was a bloody weekend - one of the worst,” said traffic Lt. Kevin Keel.

Through July, Toledo police had logged 16 traffic deaths, up from 12 through the first seven months of 2002 and 13 in 2001, Sergeant Paul Kerschbaum said. The weekend's toll brings the total to 19.

Yesterday, Brooke Ann Jeko, 20, of Oregon, was arraigned in Toledo Municipal Court on a charge of aggravated vehicular homicide in connection with the death of Anthony Garcia, 35, of 221 Eastgate Rd.

Mr. Garcia apparently was lying in the middle of Broadway about 2:30 a.m. Sunday when he was struck by Ms. Jeko's southbound car and dragged about a quarter mile.

Ms. Jeko's blood-alcohol level was 0.045 percent which, for an adult 21 or older, would be well within the 0.08-percent limit.

But Ms. Jeko is 20 and can't drink legally, police said.

Ms. Jeko, who pulled into a parking lot following the collision, told police she believed her car had a flat tire, an investigator told The Blade.

Judge Gene Zmuda ordered her held in the Lucas County jail in lieu of a $25,000 bond, and she remained there last night.

In the meantime, police continued to try to piece together the hours preceding Mr. Garcia's death to determine why he was lying in the middle of the road. Crime scene investigators plan to execute a search warrant to search Ms. Jeko's car, Lieutenant Keel said.

A final ruling on the manner of Mr. Garcia's death will be withheld pending results of toxicology and other tests, Lucas County Dr. James Patrick said.

His was the first of three traffic deaths Toledo police investigated during the weekend.

At 2:45 p.m. Sunday, Teodora Y. Hernandez, 63, of 2470 Lawton Ave., apparently ran a red light at Jackman Road and Berdan Avenue, causing a collision with two other cars.

Ms. Hernandez died about 8:30 p.m. in Toledo Hospital as a result of multiple blunt trauma injuries.

At 11:52 p.m. Sunday - just minutes before the close of the weekend - Michael V. Simon, 20, of 45 West Poinsetta Ave., was thrown from his motorcycle into a guardrail on Laskey Road near Bennett Road. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

It was unclear what caused the accident. An investigator noted the pavement was wet from rain.

His passenger, Erin Kiffle, 17, of 2022 Roanwood Dr., was taken to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, where her condition was not available.


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