UPDATE: Driver in the fatal crash identified as Brett M. Helsley, 18 of West Virginia.
XENIA — Three people were killed in a multi-vehicle accident on US Route 35 west Aug. 29.
According to Xenia Township Fire Department Lt. Jay Leach, a vehicle was heading west on US 35 between Lower Bellbrook Road and East Main Street at a speed of approximately 70 miles per hour around 12:30 p.m. and rear-ended a semi-truck that had been slowed down due to a previous accident.
Three males, approximately 18-20 years old, were in the vehicle and died as a result of the crash, Leach said.
The truck driver was not injured, neither was the driver of the third vehicle, which received minor damage. The driver of that vehicle, Robert Liston, said the vehicle containing the fatalities was being driven erratically for several miles, speeding up and slowing down. Leach could not confirm that and said the Ohio State Highway Patrol was taking over the investigation.
Liston said he entered US 35 west at Bickett Road on the way to work in Middletown.
“They came up real fast behind me there,” he said.
Liston said he slowed down and let them pass but he eventually got around that vehicle, and as he approached the Main Street exit he saw traffic slowed down. Liston saw the other vehicle driving right for him and he pulled to the right side to get out of the way. The driver clipped his vehicle and went head on into the semi.
Liston said he put his vehicle in park tried to help the victims.
“I hollered,” he said. “I didn’t get any response.”
Leach said it was one of the worst he has seen in his 14 years at the fire department.
“It was a pretty bad accident,” he said. “We don’t want to see fatalities on our highways.”
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.