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MAHONING COUNTY Family sues 3 in man's death



Published: Tue, July 2, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The crash came after an argument at a graduation party, authorities said.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- The family of a Warren man who was killed in a traffic accident last summer is suing the men they say chased him and caused him to crash.

Keith Gohlke, 21, of Hickory Drive, Warren, died when he drove through a stop sign at state Route 45 and Blott Road in Jackson Township and was struck by an oncoming car.

His parents, Donald and Colleen Gohlke, filed the lawsuit in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. They are seeking unspecified damages from Jerry D. Rickard of Girard, and Joshua M. Kellar and Joseph A. Price, both of Youngstown. Rickard, Kellar and Price were all 19 at the time of the crash.

The suit says Gohlke attended a graduation party for Rickard's girlfriend in North Jackson on July 1, 2001. Rickard, Kellar and Price also were there.

When Gohlke left the party, the three defendants followed him, headed east on Blott Road. Rickard passed Gohlke's car and slowed down in front him, while Keller pulled up behind Gohlke's car.

Price was riding with Rickard, the suit says.

It says the men pursued Gohlke's car at a high rate of speed, threatening him as they chased him. Gohlke was killed while trying to evade the pursuers, the suit says.

Police report

Lt. Brian Girts of the Ohio State Highway Patrol's Canfield post said reports indicate that when Gohlke's car got penned in by the others, he swerved into the left lane to get around Rickard's car, drove through a stop sign and was hit.

He said the patrol investigated and found that Rickard and Gohlke had argued and possibly fought at the party, and that the defendants followed Gohlke when he left the party. No criminal charges were filed against them, Girts said.

bjackson@vindy.com




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