Driver charged in wrong-way crash that killed beloved NKY teacher

Published: Oct. 28, 2022 at 3:57 PM EDT
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COVINGTON, Ky. (WXIX) - Police have charged a woman they say was driving the wrong way on Interstate 75 when she crashed into and killed another driver.

Police on Friday charged Kearies Simpson, of Covington, in the death of 83-year-old Martha Arlinghaus, of Villa Hills.

Simpson displayed “extreme indifference to the value of human life by operating her vehicle the wrong way on an expressway while under the influence of intoxicants,” the criminal complaint reads.

The complaint claims Simpson’s sister told officers she and Simpson had been drinking at a Cincinnati bar in the hours before the crash. They then allegedly went to an “after-hours party” at a Cincinnati night club.

Officers also say marijuana was found in the car. Medical providers allegedly said she smelled of marijuana at the scene.

Toxicology results are pending.

Kearies Simpson
Kearies Simpson(Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)

The crash happened around 7 a.m. last Sunday on I-75 North near Kyles Lane in Covington.

The wrong-way car got on the interstate by the 12th Street exit ramp.

Officers say at least seven other northbound drivers had to swerve out of the way to avoid being hit before the crash.

Simpson told officers she fell asleep in the car on the way home and was only awakened by the crash, per the complaint.

The woman believed to be Simpson was hospitalized with injuries police described as non-life-threatening.

Simpson’s sister was allegedly a passenger in the wrong-way vehicle. She was also hospitalized and released the same day.

Officers are still investigating.

Anyone with information on the crash is asked to contact Detective Gregg Andrews at 859-292-2271 with the Covington Police Department.

Arlinghaus was a longtime Catholic school teacher in Northern Kentucky, according to Villa Madonna Academy, where she was an elementary teacher.

Naashom Marx says she had Arlinghaus as a teacher in the 4th grade, and decades later, she still remembers her late teacher well.

“She did little things like helping make sure that we were able to buy little Christmas gifts for our family, and she would constantly knit,” Marx recalls. “I don’t know what kind of knitting it’s called, but she would make angels or tissue boxes. A lot of us still, we’ve been reflecting on how we have folders that she made us.”

The Villa Hills private school released a statement on her death, saying they are “shocked,” and “deeply saddened.” Read the full statement in the Facebook post below.

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