Police: Driver was on heroin at time of quadruple fatal crash in - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Police: Driver was on heroin at time of quadruple fatal crash in NKY

(Source: David Palmer, FOX19 NOW) (Source: David Palmer, FOX19 NOW)
Tow truck loading the vehicle onto the truck (Source: Michael Baldwin, FOX19 NOW) Tow truck loading the vehicle onto the truck (Source: Michael Baldwin, FOX19 NOW)
(Source: David Palmer, FOX19 NOW) (Source: David Palmer, FOX19 NOW)
Kenneth Hartsock (Photo: Kenton County Police) Kenneth Hartsock (Photo: Kenton County Police)
FT. WRIGHT, KY (FOX19) -

A driver who police say was responsible for a September quadruple fatal crash in Kenton County had traces drugs of in his blood at the time of the wreck.

Kenneth Hartsock, 48, of Edgewood, Ky., had traces of heroin, Fentanyl and THC in his bloodstream in an early September crash on Highland Pike, according to a toxicology report released by police. 

Hartsock was traveling eastbound on Highland Pike when he drifted into the emergency lane and contacted with a guard rail.  He eventually traveled back into the roadway, across the double yellow line, and slammed into a westbound vehicle headed up a hill near Reeves Drive, Fort Wright police said. 

Emergency crews arrived to find the three occupants of the westbound vehicle seriously hurt: Sarah Willis, 70, the driver; her husband and backseat passenger John Willis, 79, of Bromley, and her sister and front seat passenger, Gloria J. Roaden 72.

Sarah Willis, her sister and Hartsock were pronounced dead at the scene.

Crews summoned an AirCare medical helicopter to fly John Willis to University of Cincinnati Medical Center, They arrived and treated him, but then he also died at the scene.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders called the wreck “the most tragic illustration of the danger of drugged driving in Kenton County history.” “We get new cases of drugged drivers every week but three innocent people lost their lives this time and that’s just horrific,” said Sanders.

Witnesses on scene said Hartsock was driving erratically which made investigators suspect Hartsock had overdosed while coming down on Highland Pike, according to Kenton County Police Chief Spike Jones. 

“The vehicle’s path of travel suggested the driver was unconscious, we just had to figure out why,” Jones said.

Jones says that while it is possible the Fentanyl, a powerful painkiller usually reserved for terminally ill patients was prescribed, it is more likely the Fentanyl was mixed in with the heroin to make the drugs more potent.

“Anytime someone uses illicit narcotics, they are at the mercy of the drug dealers when it comes to what substances are actually being consumed,” said Jones.

The reconstruction team was able to calculate Hartsock's speed at between 81 to 82 mph and Willis' speed at 51 to 53 mph, according to Jones.

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