Fatal crash’s accident report: Driver had ‘abnormal’ actions

By Ed Runyan



The accident report for the Sept. 21 Newton Township crash that killed Jamie and Emily Danes of Newton Falls doesn’t give the results of urine and blood tests conducted on the driver of the other car, Paul Wodianka.

But it describes Wodianka, 42, of Diamond, as exposing himself to personnel and patients in the emergency room at St. Elizabeth Health Center in the hours after the accident.

“Mr. Wodianka kept taking off his hospital gown and sheets,” a trooper with the Ohio State Highway Patrol said in the police report.

“I was told by OSP Sgt. Dave Zatvarnicky and Trooper T.J. Dobbins that [Wodianka] had been leaving his bed, walking up and down the hall and disrobing himself in front of other people,” Trooper Michael J. Vitullo said in his report.

“These actions are abnormal and would suggest a loss of inhibition by the subject,” Vitullo said.

Vitullo reported that Wodianka took a breath test at 1:30 a.m. — about three hours after the 10:30 p.m. crash — and it produced a reading of 0.031, which is well below the legal limit of 0.08.

Vitullo noted that the urine sample Wodianka gave at 12:30 a.m. — two hours after the crash — may provide the best indication of whether Wodianka was intoxicated at the time of the crash.

In the interview troopers had with Wodianka at the hospital, Wodianka said he knew he’d been in a crash, that he was the driver and there were no passengers in his vehicle.

He said he’d come from the Lake Milton area, where he lives, about 7 p.m., and had gone to Sam’s Pizza on South Canal Street in Newton Falls. He thought the accident happened at 8 p.m., he said.

He told the trooper he had consumed about two beers and had not taken any type of medication.

When asked “What happened in the crash?” Wodianka replied: “It was sudden.”

Wodianka, who told troopers he was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, crossed the center line and hit the Daneses’ vehicle head-on on South Canal Street. The Daneses were on their way home from celebrating their wedding anniversary with dinner and a movie in Niles.

Jamie Danes, 37, and Emily Danes, 29, who were not wearing seat belts, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Wodianka suffered serious injuries in the crash and remained in the hospital four days afterwards, a hospital spokesperson said. He has been released.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said it likely will present its investigation to a Trumbull County grand jury to have it determine if Wodianka should be charged with any crimes in the crash.

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