From staff, wire reports
FREMONT: An Ohio motorist traveling at more than 125 mph was charged Friday with vehicular homicide after his car struck a minivan, killing the couple inside, the State Highway Patrol said.
Andrew D. Gans, of Kent, faces two counts of vehicular homicide with a reckless specification after Thursday night’s crash on the Ohio Turnpike, where both vehicles burst into flames.
The victims, Wilbur and Margaret McCoy, both 77, of Toledo, were wearing seat belts when they were hit and were trapped inside of the minivan, the patrol said.
Gans, 24, suffered injuries that are not life-threatening and was hospitalized for psychiatric evaluation at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, said staff Lt. Anne Ralston, a patrol spokeswoman.
Gans has spoken with investigators, but Ralston declined to comment on what he said or whether he offered any explanation for the erratic driving that was reported.
He will be taken to jail following his release from the hospital. No court date has been set and the case will go to a grand jury.
Court records in Portage County show Gans was cited for speeding in May 2011, when he was cited for traveling 55 mph in a 35 mph zone on Seasons Road.
The patrol said Thursday’s incident remains under investigation.
Two troopers separately spotted Gans’ car — identified as a 2013 Infiniti M56 by the Toledo Blade — but were not able to catch or keep up with it before the crash near Fremont, about 40 miles southeast of Toledo, Ralston said.
Other drivers began calling dispatchers about the speeding, weaving vehicle just before 7 p.m., about 20 minutes before it crashed into the back of the minivan. The driver passed two troopers, each of whom tried to pull behind the westbound car but lost sight of it as it sped away, Ralston said.
“Just because it was going so fast, we were never able to get into a position where we were actually engaged in a pursuit with it,” she said. “We were simply trying to catch up and intercept this vehicle and get it stopped.”
The speeding vehicle stunned some holiday travelers who witnessed it.
Josh Pickett of Toledo told the Toledo Blade he was headed home from Thanksgiving dinner with relatives in Cleveland when the speeding driver passed him, followed about a minute later by a patrol cruiser.
“I was going 76, and the guy passes me like I was standing still,” Pickett told the newspaper.
He said within a few minutes, traffic suddenly stopped “and I saw really big flames.”
Ty Mahaffey told the Blade a car zoomed by him “at an enormously high rate of speed. ... I have never seen a passenger car going so fast.”
The Toledo resident said he was going around 80 mph “and when he passed me, it was like I was going in reverse.” He said afterward he had to pull over briefly to collect himself.
The turnpike’s westbound lanes were closed for several hours but reopened early Friday.