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Fatal crash likely caused by medical episode

Champaign County man died in Springfield crash.

A woman says she was at a man’s side as he breathed “his last gasp” after crashing his car into a Springfield restaurant on Saturday.

Perry Branim, 59, of Mechanicsburg, wrecked into Senor Piquin Rivera on West Columbia Street around 3:20 p.m. and was pronounced dead a short time later.

According to a police report, Springfield resident Christina Butts witnessed the crash. She told officers she was stopped at the intersection of West Columbia and South Yellow Springs streets when she saw Branim’s maroon Dodge run the red light, driving erratically.

“It looked like he was going to turn right onto Plum Street, but I just knew he was going too fast,” Butts said. “He hit the building pretty hard.”

The mother of three said she got out of her car, ran to the scene and began talking to Branim and taking his pulse.

Investigators with the Clark County Coroner’s Office said they are awaiting toxicology results to determine what caused the fatal crash, but they said it was likely the result of a medical episode.

Branim, a Michigan native, was a married father of four.

Butts choked back tears while describing the scene of the wreck.

“It felt like an eternity,” she said, describing the feeling of helplessness she had while trying to keep him awake. “I think he took his last gasp maybe a few seconds before the ambulance got there.”

A memorial service for Branim will be held at Grace Fellowship Church, 1606 W. Elm St. in Lima, at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

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