Accident report says driver in fatal pedestrian accident showed ‘strong signs of impairment’


By Ed Runyan

runyan@vindy.com

SOUTHINGTON

The Ohio State Highway Patrol says a driver who struck and killed a pedestrian on Helsey Fusselman Road at 4:50 p.m. April 8 had medications and alcohol in his system but not an amount of alcohol over the legal limit for driving.

William F. Dally, 69, of Phalanx Mills Herner Road told a state trooper he was on four types of prescription drugs and wasn’t supposed to be drinking alcohol while taking them, but he did.

He said he was on his way to St. Joseph Warren Hospital ”per the doctor’s order” when the accident occurred.

Killed was Kathleen Westenfelder, 65, of Helsey Fusselman Road, who a witness said walked that road regularly in warm weather.

Dally’s blood-alcohol level was 0.056, according to a copy of the crash report obtained by The Vindicator. That is below the level of 0.08 that is considered impaired in Ohio.

The report says Dally was tested for alcohol and drugs, but the results of the drug testing were not yet complete.

The investigation will be turned over to the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office for a determination of whether charges will be filed against him in the case, the report says.

A trooper who spoke with Dally just after the accident said Dally showed “strong signs of impairment. His eyes were bloodshot and glossy ... and he had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage.” His speech was slurred, and he performed poorly on a field sobriety test. He had no apparent injuries, the report says.

A witness driving past Westenfelder before the accident told troopers she saw her with a walking stick coming toward traffic on the edge of the road several minutes before she heard first responders coming to the scene for the accident.

The crash report says a reason for the accident is that Dally failed to maintain a reasonable distance from the pedestrian, who Sgt. Michael Wilson of the Southington Post confirmed was on the correct side of the road. Wilson said the report indicated her position on the edge of the road was not considered a cause of the accident.

Wilson said the road had a very small berm with a ditch next to it. The report says she had one foot on the “pavement edge” and the other foot “on the roadway.”

In his written statement, Dally told a trooper he was not distracted by anything and saw the pedestrian, though he did not see her using a cane. He said a vehicle was behind him and another was a short distance ahead coming the other way. He said the pedestrian was “looking down like she had a phone.”

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