Police are investigating why a Michigan man driving a semi crossed an Interstate 75 median in Moraine, leading to a Friday night crash that killed three Middletown family members and left a fourth critically injured.
Police said the tractor trailer driven by Todd Bowling, 40, of Croswell, Michigan, went through the cable barrier near the same mile marker where a wrong-way St. Patrick’s Day crash last year killed three Warren County family members and led to murder charges against a 22-year-old woman.
The reason for the Friday crash that killed Betty Davis, 57, Amanda Kidwell, 36, and Brayden Jennings, 6, all from Middletown, is not yet known, police said. Davis was Kidwell’s mother, and Brayden was Kidwell’s son.
Kidwell’s 8-year-old daughter, Adriana Sanchez, was critically injured and remained hospitalized Monday morning.
Bowling told police he “started to cough and blacked out” and did not remember anything else about the crash, according to a witness statement.
“We’re investigating all possibilities,” Moraine police Sgt. Andrew Parish said.
“We’re looking at the possibility he could have been impaired, we’re looking the possibility there could have been an illness involved, that he could have been sleepy … we can’t say there’s anything conclusive.”
Police obtained a search warrant for Bowling’s blood samples. Results from those samples were not immediately included in the police report.
Bowling was treated and released from Kettering Medical Center. He was not in police custody Monday and is being cooperative, Parish said.
Bowling has a 2009 Oregon conviction for failing to carry a Public Utilities Commission permit often required for those operating ground transportation vehicles, according records obtained through a background check by this news organization.
The crash happened on I-75 in Moraine around 10 p.m. Friday, when the semi truck going north traveled into the southbound lanes.
The semi hit a car head-on in the vicinity of the Heidelberg Distributing Co. facility. That’s the same area where, investigators say, Abby Michaels deliberately drove northbound in the southbound lanes in a March 17, 2019 crash that killed Timmy Thompson, 51, Karen Thompson, 50, and Tessa Thompson, 10, all of Mason.
Michaels, formerly of Xenia, was indicted in July on six counts of murder, six counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
After initially entering a not guilty plea for Michaels, defense attorney Jay Adams filed a motion to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. Following a series of evaluations, a judge ruled Michaels competent to stand trial.
“The circumstances of that crash are known,” Parish said of last year’s wreck. “I’m not going to say the area is prone to crashes.”
The cable barriers in the median often prevent “cars from crossing over,” he said.
“We investigate our fair share of accidents in that part of the interstate and we have plenty if cases where those cable barriers have stopped a car from coming over the median,” Parish said.
Michelle Adkins of Troy organized a GoFundMe effort at www.tinyurl.com/3beautifulsouls in the wake of Friday’s crash. As of Monday at 4:30 p.m., the fundraiser had collected $1,235 of its $5,000 goal.
“Betty Davis is my cousin and she worked really hard all her life,” Adkins wrote. “She loved her family with all her heart and would give anyone the shirt off her back.”
Adkins said Davis raised two daughters.
“Amanda was the same bright shining star,” she said.
Brayden was a first-grade student at Wildwood Elementary in Middletown. His sister, Adriana, is a second-grade student there, according to Middletown Schools officials.
The district, in a statement issued Monday, asked the public to keep the family in their thoughts and expressed appreciation for the comfort already extended by the school community.
“We are deeply saddened by this unexpected tragedy and share our deepest condolences with the students’ family and friends,” it said. “Our district has a Crisis Intervention Team made up of professionals trained to help with the needs of students, parents, and school personnel at difficult times. These individuals will be in Wildwood Elementary over the next several days to assist our school community.”
Middletown’s counselors, social workers, and psychologists will work closely with that team and be available for students, the district said.
“During this very difficult time, our focus is on supporting the family, as well as our students and staff, who are grieving this loss,” the district said.
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