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Published: Sunday, 3/4/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Few details emerge about wrong-way driver in Interstate 75 crash

BLADE STAFF
A neighbor of Winifred D. Lein, 69, of Perrysburg Township posted this note on the door.
A neighbor of Winifred D. Lein, 69, of Perrysburg Township posted this note on the door.
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Two Bowling Green State University students remained in critical condition Saturday after a crash caused by a wrong-way driver killed three of their sorority sisters on I-75 the day before.

Kayla A. Somoles, 19, of Parma, Ohio, and Angelica J. Mormile, 19, of Garfield Heights, Ohio, were taken to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center after the 2:15 a.m. Friday crash north of Bowling Green that also killed the wrong-way driver, Winifred D. Lein, 69, of Perrysburg Township.

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Few details have emerged about the wrong-way driver, although Perrysburg Township police said Lein had no run-ins with the department.

Lein worked in a contract capacity at the Toledo Jeep Assembly complex but was not a Chrysler Group LLC employee, said Jodi Tinson, manager of manufacturing and labor communications for the automaker.

Ms. Tinson declined to say what Lein did at the complex. She did not know if the Perrysburg Township woman had worked at Toledo Jeep that night, and she had no other information, she said.

One of Lein's neighbors at Concord Square Apartments, Betty Kudlica, said she was a motherly woman who was friendly and rarely had visitors. Ms. Kudlica said Lein was thoughtful, even replacing an outside light bulb near her apartment, and did not appear to be someone who would want to hurt anyone.

"She was just a great older lady that really didn't have anybody but didn't have a problem living alone," Ms. Kudlica said. "She didn't seem unhappy."

She added: "I feel bad four people died in this."

The BGSU students killed in Friday's wrong-way I-75 crash are, from left, Christina Goyett, 19, of Bay City, Mich.; Sarah Hammond, 21, of Yellow Springs, Ohio; and Rebekah Blakkolb, 20, of Aurora, Ohio. The BGSU students killed in Friday's wrong-way I-75 crash are, from left, Christina Goyett, 19, of Bay City, Mich.; Sarah Hammond, 21, of Yellow Springs, Ohio; and Rebekah Blakkolb, 20, of Aurora, Ohio.
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The deceased and injured BGSU students and Alpha Xi Delta members were on their way to Detroit Metro Airport to catch a flight to the Dominican Republic for spring break.

Before the head-on crash, a car with five other sorority sisters was able to avoid colliding with Lein, who was driving southbound in the northbound lanes.

The Ohio Highway Patrol will not release further information about the crash until later this week, said Lt. Anne Ralston, highway patrol spokesman in Columbus. That includes a video recorded by the dashboard cameras of responding troopers. Those cameras are activated when lights and sirens are turned on.

Autopsies on the four who died were completed Saturday by the Lucas County Coroner's Office.

Dr. Douglas Hess, Wood County coroner, said more work remains to be done before rulings are issued on those who died at the scene — Lein; Christina Goyett, 19, of Bay City, Mich., who was driving the northbound car, and Sarah J. Hammond, 21, of Yellow Springs, Ohio. He declined to specify what is left to do, however.

Rebekah M. Blakkolb, 20, of Aurora, Ohio, another passenger in Ms. Goyett's car, was taken to the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio, where she died. Dr. Maneesha Pandey, a Lucas County deputy coroner, ruled her death accidental, caused by multiple blunt-force trauma.

A woman identifying herself as the mother of a woman in the other car of sorority sisters posted a comment on The Blade's Web site. She wrote that Trooper Phil Mohre, who had been dispatched to look for the wrong-way vehicle and witnessed the crash, and a man heading to Columbus saved her daughter, who otherwise would have tried to assist her friends pinned in their car with Lein's car in flames.

Her daughter, she wrote, would like to thank the man and trooper, whom she also thanked.

"We need many prayers for all involved," she added.

"This was a remarkable group of young ladies with a very hard road ahead of them."



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