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UPDATE - Trooper remains in critical condition; alcohol-related charge filed

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Feb 28, 2013 at 11:07 PM

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating a serious injury crash involving a trooper assigned to the Lebanon Post.

The crash occurred on Interstate 75 near milepost 36 in Warren County at 11:06 p.m. Wednesday.

Newly commissioned trooper, Brent E. Hill, 26, and his field training officer, Troopers Mike Steele, 48, both of the Lebanon Post, were on the scene of a one-vehicle crash on the left berm of Interstate 75 northbound. Hill was out of the patrol car investigating the initial crash when he was struck by another vehicle that had lost control on the snowy roadway.

That vehicle, a 1996 Buick Riviera , driven by Andrew T. Combs, 22, of Vandalia, lost control of the vehicle, went off the left side of the roadway, sideswiped the patrol car and struck Hill and the vehicle that was involved in the first crash. There were no other passengers in Combs’ vehicle and no other injuries were reported.

Hill was transported from the scene with incapacitating injury to Atrium Hospital in Middletown, before being transported to Miami Valley Trauma Center in Dayton.

As of Thursday evening, Hill remained there in critical, but stable condition, troopers said.

Combs remained at the scene and provided a statement to investigators. He was cooperative with the investigation and was released pending further investigation.

Assistance at the scene was provided by the Patrol's Crash Reconstruction Unit, Office of Investigative Services and Photo Lab. Warren County Prosecutor David Forshell, Warren County Sheriff’s Office and Turtle Creek Fire Department provided assistance at the scene. That crash remains under investigation and no charges have been filed at this time.

The patrol provided more information Thursday evening.

The initial crash occurred when Victoria L. Zaagman, 20, of West Chester, lost control of her 2001 Dodge Neon while traveling northbound on Interstate 75. Her vehicle went off the left side of the roadway and struck the cement median wall. Zaagman and her passenger, Hanna J. Cox, 19, also of West Chester were not injured and the vehicle sustained disabling damage.

Zaagman was subsequently arrested for failure to maintain reasonable control and for operating a vehicle after underage consumption – her blood-alcohol content was found to be .049 percent, which is above the .02 percent limit for drivers younger than 21 years old.

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