Alcohol, speed were factors in fatal crash, troopers say



State troopers say they believe alcohol was involved in Saturday’s traffic crash that killed three people — because the driver smelled like alcohol and empty alcohol containers were in the crashed car.

The accident claimed the lives of the driver, Darthel Jones, 25, of Delaware, and passengers Trent Curran, 12, and Seth DeLong, 14, both of Delaware. Another passenger, Kristen DeLong, 35, of Delaware, the mother of the two boys, remains hospitalized in Columbus.

Meanwhile, Delaware County Coroner Mark Hickman said that preliminary autopsies indicate that all three of the victims died as a result of the injuries sustained in the crash.

Seth DeLong’s body was not found until about 10 hours after the crash because he was ejected from the vehicle and his body was in knee-deep water in a soybean field. His body was discovered on the fourth search of the accident scene about 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

The accident occurred at 12:47 a.m. Saturday, troopers said, when a 1997 Toyota Camry, driven by Jones, was traveling at an unsafe speed on State Route 203. Jones failed to negotiate a turn on SR 203 just south of Norton Road in Radnor Township and struck a tree, troopers said.

Troopers said they will not know exactly how fast Jones was driving until the accident reconstruction is completed later this week, but confirmed that speed contributed to the crash.

After Jones lost control of the car, the Camry slid off the road on the right side and hit a tree. The car rotated 180 degrees and came to rest in a soybean field flooded with rainwater, troopers said. Troopers said skid marks at the scene rule out the possibility of water covering the road.

Hickman said test results on Jones’ blood — to determine any alcohol level — will not be available for six to 10 weeks.

Delaware Municipal Court records indicate that Jones was ordered to pay a fine in March 2010 after being convicted of OVI. Jones was also convicted for the purchase and consumption of alcohol six times before he turned 21.

After the crash, Kristen DeLong was flown by MedFlight helicopter to OSU Wexner Medical Center in Columbus with serious injuries. OSU Wexner staff confirmed DeLong was still a patient Tuesday and said she remains in serious condition.

Curran was a student at Dempsey Middle School. He was in the right rear seat and was also pronounced dead at the scene, troopers report. Seth DeLong was also a Dempsey student.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Kevin Knapp said that Seth DeLong’s body was not initially discovered because the only survivor was unconscious and emergency workers had no reason to believe there was a fourth person involved in the crash.

However, Knapp said that, after troopers spoke to Kristen DeLong’s mother and learned that Seth DeLong had been with his mother the night before, troopers and firefighters returned to the scene about 10:30 a.m. to search again.

Seth DeLong’s body was found about 75 feet away from the crash site.

Troopers added that Jones and Kristen DeLong were not wearing seat belts but Curran was wearing his safety belt.

Memorial services for Seth DeLong and Trent Curran have been scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Hill Funeral Home in Westerville. The boys will be interred at a private ceremony afterwards.

A Facebook page titled “R.I.P. Seth DeLong” had amassed more than 150 likes by Tuesday afternoon.

Jones was a graduate of Hayes High School. Services will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Snyder-Rodman Funeral Center in Delaware.

The crash remains under investigation.

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