Cops: 5 killed in Ohio DUI crash |

Cops: 5 killed in Ohio DUI crash

John Seewer
Associated Press
Vail, CO Colorado
Lori King, AP/The Toledo BladeThe aftermath of a head-on collision in Toledo, Ohio Sunday, between a pickup truck going the wrong way on an interstate and a minivan. Police say five people, including an infant, who were riding in the minivan were killed.

TOLEDO, Ohio ” A drunken driver went about four miles down a highway in the wrong direction before his pickup truck slammed into a minivan, killing a woman and four children and injuring three others, police said Monday.

Michael Gagnon, 24, drove north in the southbound lane of Interstate 280 late Sunday, colliding with the minivan and leaving scattered toys, stuffed animals and bits of gift wrap along the edge of the road, Toledo police said.

An 8-week-old girl was among those killed.

Gagnon had a blood-alcohol level of .254 after the crash, more than three times Ohio’s legal limit of .08, police said. He was charged Monday with aggravated vehicular homicide.

Gagnon’s brother, Samuel Gagnon, told The (Baltimore) Sun they had been drinking at a hotel Sunday night and that his brother left in the truck without telling anyone before their sister arrived to drive them home.

Samuel Gagnon declined comment to The Associated Press.

Michael Gagnon stopped at a fast-food restaurant just before the crash. Workers called to alert police, but Gagnon left before an officer arrived, said Lt. Hank Everitt of the Oregon Police Department. Soon after, a 911 call came in about a driver going the wrong way on the interstate, he said. Other drivers also alerted police before the crash, he said.

Danny Griffin Jr., the minivan’s driver, was rounding a curve when the minivan hit the truck, said Ron Spann, a deputy chief with Toledo police.

“I can’t imagine the shock when he saw that truck,” Spann said.

Both drivers tried to avoid each other, but the crash ripped a side door off the minivan, throwing out some of the victims, police said.

Bethany Griffin, 36, Jordan Griffin, 10, Vadi Griffin, 8 weeks, Lacie Burkman, 7, and Haley Burkman, 10, were killed, according to police. All are from Parkville, Md.

Three others who were in the minivan were taken to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center. Griffin, 36, and Beu Burkman, 8, were listed in serious condition, while Sidney Griffin, 8, was in critical condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.

All eight had been visiting family in Michigan and were returning to Maryland.

Gagnon was taken to a hospital with an injured jaw and remained there Monday afternoon, Spann said. He will be taken to jail when he is released from the hospital, Spann said. Police said he lives in Adrian, Mich., but there was no telephone listing for him or his family there.

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