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Police investigate driver ‘impairment’ after car plunges off I-75 overpass in West Chester

A woman who knew the Middletown man killed this week in a crash said she is “devastated” to hear of his death.

Martel Cecil Booker, 31, was driving a 2003 Pontiac Grand Am north on Interstate 75 just past Union Centre Boulevard around 1:10 p.m. Tuesday when the vehicle veered off the roadway into the grassy median and down an embankment before going airborne and slamming into a concrete support pillar, according to Lt. Clint Arnold of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

FIRST REPORT: Middletown man killed when car plunges off I-75 overpass in West Chester Twp.

Tera Bufford, of Orlando, Fla., said Booker is the father of her son, Cameron Bufford, 5. On a GoFundMe page, she wrote that she received “some devastating news” that he was killed in a crash. She is hoping to collect donations that will be used for his funeral expenses.

“Devastated,” she said of how she felt when learning of his death in an online news article.

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No one answered at Booker’s home on Wayne Avenue in Middletown on Wednesday afternoon.

Booker had a prior history of driving infractions. He was charged with driving under suspension last month in Middletown, and driving without an operator’s license twice in 2016, according to Middletown Municipal Court records.

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OSHP continues to investigate the crash, Arnold told this news outlet on Wednesday.

“We’re looking into impairment, medical conditions, fatigue … but at this point we don’t have any indication as to why he went off the road the way he did,” he said.

The vehicle’s speed was “extremely high” but there’s no indication why that was the case or exactly how fast it may have been going, Arnold said.

“Based on the amount of damage that the car had suffered and the distance that it traveled, there was a lot of speed involved,” he said. “Whether or not he was in complete control fo the vehicle upon impact, we don’t know yet. There’s a possibility that we’re looking into that he may have been … not into total control of his vehicle.”

It’s also possible the vehicle may have left the roadway because of swerving to miss striking another vehicle, but it’s not able to be determined at this point because “there’s not a whole lot of witnesses that really saw it happen,” Arnold said.

OSHP, which is exhausting all its options as to the cause of the crash, likely will receive its greatest insight once it receives a toxicology report from the Butler County Coroner’s Office, he said.

Results from such reports typically aren’t available from between four and six weeks.

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