Driver in crash that killed Graham student suspected of alcohol use

Champaign County deputies are investigating the possibility that one of the drivers in a crash that killed a Graham High School student might have been drunk.

Sara Hess, 15, was killed Nov. 3. A crash report obtained by the Springfield News-Sun says 17-year-old Gabe Wier, who was driving a 2006 Accord that Hess was in, was attempting to make a left hand turn off of Ohio 235 when his car was rear-ended by a 1997 Honda Civic driven by Dylan Lambert.

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“(Lambert) struck (Wier) in the right rear, forcing (Wier) off the roadway to the left,” the report says. “(Wier) struck a ditch, which caused the vehicle to roll over and came to a final rest on its tires.”

The report says Lambert was trying to pass the Accord at the time of the crash and allegedly crossed a double yellow line to do so. It also says Champaign County deputies allegedly suspect Dylan Lambert, 27, of being under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.

The crash report says Lambert tested at a .232 level of alcohol, which is almost three times the legal limit for driving.

No charges have been filed.

“We are still investigating, it will have to be presented to a grand jury,” Champaign County Sheriff Matthew Melvin said.

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Hess was wearing her seat belt at the time of the crash, according to the report. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lambert didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Sara’s death hit the Graham community hard, Graham Superintendent Kirk Koennecke said, and will have a lasting impact on the school.

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Students and teachers at the school are still mourning her death, he said.

“If we find there are other new developments in the case where this horrible tragedy could have been avoided, we are going to mourn even more,” Koennecke said. “It will be a senseless loss of life that could have been avoided.”

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