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Man indicted on 3 counts of vehicular homicide

A driver has been indicted on three counts of vehicular homicide and one vehicular assault charge 10 months after a head-on crash killed three people and seriously injured another.

Zachary Ryan Fife, 24, was indicted by a Clark County grand jury Monday. He was the driver of an SUV that collided with another vehicle on Old Columbus Road in September and killed all three of the car’s passengers.

“The indictment is the result of a continuous investigation by the highway patrol and because of the science involved in these crash investigations, they typically take a long time to complete,” said Ryan Saunders, assistant prosecutor.

Andrew Stewart, 26; his girlfriend Angie Smith, 34; and their friend Charles Kerr, 42, all died of multiple trauma, according to a coroner’s autopsy in the crash report. Their vehicle was hit from the front by Fife’s GMC Jimmy.

Stewart was the front-seat passenger in the car. He died at the scene of the crash, said Nancy Delong, Stewart’s mother.

“We just don’t want anyone to forget him,” Delong said, clutching a framed photo of Stewart, whom she called “Teddy.”

Inside her home, teddy bears surround photos of Stewart, all adorning a memorial to her late son. The charges Fife faces are justified for his actions, Delong said.

“He needs to be punished,” she said. “I don’t want bad things to happen to him, I don’t want his mother to lose him like I lost my son. But it’s a serious matter and he needs to deal with that.”

The crash caused “severe” impact damage to the victim’s Ford sedan to the point where the front bumper of their car was pushed into the passenger’s seats, according to the report.

Fife tested negative in both urine and blood tests for the presence of alcohol or drugs in his system, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol crash report.

He was listed as the at-fault driver of the crash and went left of a double-yellow center line to pass a vehicle in front of him, according to the report.

Fife will likely appear in the Clark County Common Pleas Court on Thursday or Friday for an arraignment. The three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide are third-degree felonies with a possible sentence of one to five years in prison, Saunders said.

The vehicular assault, a fourth-degree felony, has a maximum sentence of 18 months in jail. This charge was added because of the severity of the injuries Fife’s passenger, 24-year-old Megan Perkins, sustained in the crash, Saunders said.

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