Vigil held for Urbana teen killed in Champaign Co. crash (Photo of Sara Hess courtesy of Graham High School)

Alcohol suspected in Graham student crash death: What we know now

Champaign County deputies are now investigating the possibility one of the drivers involved in a November crash that killed an Urbana teen might have been drunk. Here’s what we know now involving the ongoing investigation.

» DETAILS: Driver in crash that killed Graham student suspected of alcohol use

Driver had blood alcohol level almost three times the legal limit

Sara Hess, 15, a sophomore at Graham High School, was killed Nov. 3 when a car she was traveling in on Ohio 235 near Roswell was rear-ended and flipped over into a ditch. She was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Hess was pronounced dead at the scene. Gabe Wier, 17, who was driving the Honda Accord Hess was in, received a fractured vertebrae in his neck, but was expected to recover.

According to a crash report obtained by the Springfield News-Sun, the driver of the other car, Dylan Lambert, 27, of St. Paris, is being investigated for allegedly being under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. Lambert allegedly tested at a .232 blood alcohol level following the incident, according to the crash report, nearly three times the legal driving limit in the state of Ohio. No charges have been filed in the case.

Crash allegedly happened because of an attempted pass

Lambert allegedly tried to pass the Accord Wier was driving as it tried to make a left-hand turn. He allegedly rear-ended the Accord, forcing it off the road and into a ditch, then flipping over before coming to a rest on its tires.

Lambert hasn’t responded to requests for comment.

Community still mourning

The Graham community is still mourning Hess’ death, which has had a lasting impact on the school, Graham Superintendent Kirk Koennecke said. The school hosted a candlelight vigil for Hess on Nov. 6 following news of her death. The Graham Local Schools district closed all schools on Nov. 10 in observance of her funeral.

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