Jeff was only .11

Jeff was only .11

      Updated 6 August 1998     URL is

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Christmas Party Aftermath

This holiday season, on the Saturday morning before Christmas, Jeffrey Hill wrecked his car at 3:40 am in LaGrange County in northeastern Indiana. His blood alcohol was .11, just over the legal limit of .10 in Indiana. An ambulance came to get him. On the way back to the hospital, a seventeen year old girl, Dawn Renee Petras, apparently crossed the center line and hit the ambulance head-on at 4:25 am. She was killed. Others in her car were injured.

Laura L. Halsey, an advanced EMT driving the ambulance was killed. She was 25 years old, married for a year. She had been with the Stroh fire department for three years and had recently become a volunteer instead of an employee, so she could devote herself to her family.

Paramedic Bryan W. Allred, age 30 with two toddlers and a young wife, was also killed. He had been on 309 ambulance runs in 1996. After his funeral, he was borne to the cemetery in an ambulance.

Allred also had worked for three years to combat drunken driving, with special attention to high school students. He staged the mock accidents at area high schools at prom time. Trust funds and memorial funds have been started in LaGrange and Stroh, Indiana.

The unborn child of Natalie Kocher, another medical worker in the ambulance, died from the accident. Ms. Kocher is hospitalized. Another medical worker, Christine Messer, is in serious condition in a hospital and Robert Fleenor, the fifth medical worker in the ambulance was treated and released.

David Hill, the brother of the man in the first accident, was killed at 5:08 am on his way home from Fort Wayne or possibly on his way to the hospital. That detail is uncertain. He was 31. He hit a semi or turned into its path.

Jeffrey Hill, the man in the original accident died in the hospital. He was 30, a corrections officer for the last three years, with special training in inmate uprisings and hostage taking. He trained new workers and was well liked and respected by the inmates and by his co-workers.

We are too casual about drinking and driving in the US. When is this carnage going to make an impression on all of us? How many more years will this sort of accident be just another news brief? Why do we expect someone who is sedated, which is really what alcohol does, to know if he or she is impaired?

Visit Sissi’s site for more thoughts on this subject.

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A big thank you to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette for many of the details in this recounting.

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