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Monday, March 26th, 2007

Prosecutor to review area fatal accident

By Margie Wuebker
An accident report stemming from a March 2 traffic fatality has been forwarded to the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office for review and possible filing of charges.
Todd D. Homan, 22, 305 state Route 29, Celina, was pronounced dead at the scene after his car traveled off state Route 219 near Coldwater and struck a telephone pole. The crash occurred at 8:54 p.m. near Coldwater Creek Road, according to Mercer County Sheriff's Office reports.
Sheriff Jeff Grey, in releasing the report this morning, confirmed authorities investigated reports another vehicle - a red Ford Mustang - may have played a role in the crash even though there was no contact. At least one witness stated the two vehicles were drag racing just prior to the accident.
Mark Myers, the 15-year-old nephew and lone passenger in Homan's 2005 Dodge Neon, reportedly told deputies they were stopped at an ATM machine at First Financial Bank when the Mustang pulled up behind them and the driver revved the motor.
Myers of Celina told authorities the action irritated his uncle because he considered it a challenge. Homan then drove to a local carryout for beer and soft drinks before heading back to the bank parking lot. Myers said he and Homan got out of the car to check for any damage from hitting the curb as they left the first time. The Mustang was still at the location, but no words were exchanged by the drivers.
Homan reportedly left heading east on state Route 219 and accelerated rapidly when the traffic light turned green, according to Myers. The Mustang, which other witnesses said had dealer's tags, caught up to Homan's car rapidly and then slowed to match its 80-mile-per-hour speed.
The passenger further stated the Mustang drove beside them in the left lane and the driver revved the motor before taking off at a high rate of speed. Myers told deputies Homan accelerated to 200 miles per hour and drove into the left lane. The youth reportedly warned his uncle of an oncoming westbound vehicle, and he slowed in response to the warning.
However, Myers said the Mustang's driver accelerated so Homan could not bring the Neon into the right lane. The Homan car traveled off the left side of the road at a high rate of speed, and Myers warned of a telephone pole. In the seconds before impact, Homan laid across his nephew in an effort to protect him from injury, according to the report.
Myers believes the Neon rolled, but he is sure the Mustang pulled into a driveway the distance of approximately two football fields away. The boy said he yelled for help but the car did not come back to the scene.
Deputies also questioned a female passenger in the Mustang driven by an 18-year-old Coldwater man, whose name has not been released. She spoke of Homan's Neon approaching them from behind and the motor being revved. The unidentified driver accelerated in order to get away but the Neon pulled out and began to pass, at which time she spotted an oncoming vehicle coming around a curve. She claims her companion braked and Homan's car traveled into the right lane. Gravel and other debris began to bounce off their windshield, leading her to believe the Neon had gone off the road into a field.
They drove a short distance down the road before pulling into a driveway. She said her companion did not want to go back fearing the two occupants of the other vehicle would be upset. Instead, they continued eastbound, turned onto U.S. 127 and drove back to Coldwater via a back road. They got into another car and headed back toward the accident scene intending to go to Buck's Inn at Montezuma. She said state Route 219 had been closed due to emergency vehicles so they returned to Coldwater.
Other witnesses told deputies the couple came to Buck's Inn later in a dark blue Grand Prix. One woman indicated he seemed unusually quiet as others spoke about the accident. He reportedly left after someone said the driver was dead.
The Mustang was located and towed to the Spriggs Building in Celina where deputies determined there was no accident damage.
"We have tried to be very thorough in our investigation," Grey told The Daily Standard. "We are still awaiting results of a blood test, which is standard in a fatal accident. Any decision on charges now rests with the prosecutor."
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