Patrol: Late 'at-fault' driver had marijuana in her system

Cary Ashby • Updated Dec 4, 2019 at 9:32 AM

Authorities have determined a local woman who died in an Aug. 20 two-vehicle, head-on collision had marijuana in her system.

Liane M. Field, 53, of New London, died from her injuries sustained in the accident that occurred on Ohio 60, north of Eaton Road in Clarksfield Township.

“She was the one at fault,” said Lt. Charles Gullett, of the Norwalk post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, which handled the investigation. 

Shortly after the crash, troopers said alcohol and/or drug usage weren’t suspected as factors. Gullett said Tuesday that apparently “nothing stood out” for troopers to say otherwise, but he confirmed that alcohol and/or drugs weren’t suspected immediately.

Field had “a concentration of marijuana in (her) whole blood or blood serum or plasma of at least two nanograms of marijuana per milliliter,” according to the blood drug toxicology report from the Ohio Department of Public Safety. Also according to the report, the testing happened between Oct. 11 and 21.

Just before 5 p.m. Aug. 20, Field was driving a 2004 Buick LeSabre southbound on Ohio 60 when she drove left of center and hit a northbound 2018 Ford Explorer head on, troopers said. After the collision, the Explorer, driven by Michael Abfall, 74, of New London, stopped off the east side of the road.

Field wasn’t wearing a seat belt, troopers said. 

There were two rear-seat passengers in the vehicle driven by Field — Mark Howell, 50, of Greenwich, and a 2-year-old Greenwich child, whose name wasn’t released. Troopers have said Howell wasn’t wearing his safety belt and sustained incapacitating injuries. He first was transported to Fisher-Titus Medical Center and then later went to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. Sgt. Evan Stevens said he spoke to Howell recently and he was undergoing physical therapy for a broken leg, arm and foot.

The child also was transported to Fisher-Titus and later was flown to MetroHealth with critical injuries. Troopers said the child was restrained in a child safety seat during the crash. Stevens said the victim suffered severe head trauma and was last reported still to be in the hospital.

Abfall, who was wearing a seat belt, was transported to Fisher-Titus with non-incapacitating injuries. Patricia Abfall, 72, also of New London, was in the right front passenger seat in the Ford. Troopers said she was wearing her safety belt and went to the hospital with non-incapacitating injuries. Stevens said Michael Abfall had left shoulder and neck pain while Patricia had left-side pain, an open wound on her right leg and bruises on her chin and both knees.

Field, who was born Jan. 27, 1966, was a lifelong resident of New London. She was a 1984 New London High School graduate.

This year, Huron County has had 14 fatalities in 13 crashes, Gullett said.

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