Prosecutor: Driver in deadly, fiery crash in Huber Heights had drugs in system

Dayton driver now has two-dozen charges following crash involving BMW stolen in Clark County.

A Dayton man accused of fleeing deputies earlier this year and then crashing into three vehicles before the stolen BMV he was driving burst into flames — leading one driver to suffer fatal injuries — reportedly had drugs in his system at the time of the crash.

Cory Allen Harbarger, 27, already was facing more than a dozen charges in connection to the Jan. 24 crash in the 6600 block of Brandt Pike in Huber Heights.

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

A pickup truck driver — 68-year-old Steven Jay Carlson of Tipp City — later died at Miami Valley Hospital after suffering third-degree burns to most of his body.

“Today, after receiving lab reports that the defendant’s blood tested positive for both marijuana metabolite and methamphetamine at the time of the incident, the defendant has been indicted on 10 additional counts,” a release issued Friday from the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office stated.

ExploreRELATED: Police: Stolen BMW crashes into 3 vehicles on Brandt Pike, bursts into flames

Harbarger is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court for two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, six counts of aggravated vehicular assault and two misdemeanor counts of operating a vehicle while under the influence.

A Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputy spotted a white BMW reported stolen out of Clark County in the AutoZone parking lot on North Dixie Drive in Harrison Twp. Deputies attempted to stop the car, but it eluded them. As he fled, Harbarger struck another vehicle before driving onto northbound Interstate 75 then east on Interstate 70 toward Huber Heights, according to the prosecutor’s office.

ExplorePHOTOS: 1 killed after stolen BMW crashes, bursts into flames in Huber Heights

Huber Heights officers later saw the BMW crash on Brandt Pike near Chambersburg Road, according to an affidavit filed in Montgomery County Municipal Court - Eastern Division in Huber Heights.

Harbarger “continued driving erratically at which time he went left of center and struck a Jeep Cherokee, continuing southbound, striking a [Ford] F-150, which then struck a Honda Civic,” the affidavit stated.

Harbarger immediately got out of the car and ran away, but several officers found him hiding in the parking lot of a nearby business. Body-worn camera video released by Huber Heights police shows officers handcuff Harbarger in a U-Haul lot and escort him to a cruiser.

“As all of the occupants from the involved vehicles were attempting to exit their crashed vehicles, the suspect vehicle burst into flames,” Huber Heights police Sgt. Josh Fosnight said previously.

Passersby helped multiple occupants escape, he said.

Another driver and Harbarger’s passenger also suffered burn injuries in the crash and were taken to Miami Valley Hospital, where they were treated and released. Harbarger also went to that hospital for minor injuries, and the driver of a vehicle that did not catch fire was taken to Kettering Health Huber - Emergency Center, along with a child passenger, for treatment of minor injuries, police said.

Harbarger reportedly admitted to using heroin and showed signs of impairment following the crash, according to the affidavit.

ExploreRELATED: Dayton man indicted in deadly, fiery Huber Heights crash

A grand jury on Feb. 3 indicted Harbarger on 14 charges, including two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide; one count of involuntary manslaughter; three counts of aggravated vehicular assault; three counts of vehicular assault; two counts of failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer; and one count each of receiving stolen property (motor vehicle); tampering with evidence; and misdemeanor OVI.

At the time of the pursuit and crash, Harbarger was wanted in two unrelated cases. He had been convicted in August on three counts of receiving stolen property but failed to appear for sentencing. A warrant was issued in October after he was indicted for aggravated possession of drugs and possession of fentanyl-related compounds, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Harbarger’s defense attorney Lucas Wilder said he was aware of the additional charges.

“As is customary in criminal cases Mr. Harbarger will plead not guilty at his arraignment. We have not yet received or reviewed the lab reports and documentation related to the collection and testing of Mr. Harbarger’s blood,” Wilder wrote in an email.

Harbarger remains held on $1 million bail in the Montgomery County Jail.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

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