Police: Man wanted for vehicular homicide was driving under influence of heroin

AVONDALE, OH (FOX19) - An arrest warrant has been issued for a 23-year-old man accused of striking two pedestrians in Avondale resulting in the death of a 43-year-old woman. Police say he was under the influence of heroin at the time.

Police have issued an arrest warrant for Ryan Culver. Culver is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and aggravated vehicular assault.

Police said 43-year-old Monisa Barnes and a 12-year-old girl were walking on the sidewalk in the 3800 block of Vine Street when they were struck by a vehicle that lost control. The incident happened around 3 p.m. on January 16.

Barnes was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in critical condition. She died the following day.

The 12-year-old girl was transported to Children's Hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Police say Culver was driving west on Glenwood Street when he disregarded a traffic light and continued through the intersection of Vine Street. Officers said Culver's Pontiac Grand Am left the road and hit the two pedestrians on the sidewalk.

According to officers, the vehicle and pedestrians continued up the embankment and crashed into a building, pinning Barnes and the young girl between the two.

Culver had two passengers in the car at the time identified as Christina Swanson, 36, and Ben Thompson, 26. All three people had to be extricated from the vehicle by the Cincinnati Fire Department. They were transported to UC Medical Center with minor injuries.

Police say that Culver was under the influence of heroin while operating his vehicle. According to court documents, police say that Culver lost consciousness because of the heroin usage.

Covington Police Chief Spike Jones has been very vocal on the heroin issue. Jones says the problem "knows no bounds" and this case drives home the issue. He states that driving high is just as prevalent as driving drunk.

"You just can't wait to get home to use it, and a lot of these addicts are using the drug, and a lot of addicts are using it in order to prevent the withdrawal symptoms from occurring," explains Jones.

Heroin usage has been putting lives at risk and police on full alert.

"We're seeing too many of these cases locally," explains Jones. "We're seeing too many incidents where we pull up to a vehicle and there's a parent in the car with a needle in their arm and there's a kid strapped in a child restraint seat in the backseat."

In the meantime, Culver is still at large. Anyone with information on Culver's whereabouts is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 513-352-3040.

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