Fleeing driver charged after two die in crash

Batavia, Ohio — Three DNR Division of Wildlife officers have returned to duty after a departmental review of their actions surrounding a July 6 Clermont County fatal crash.

The vehicle’s driver, meanwhile, has been charged with two felony counts of aggravated vehicular homicide in the deaths of two of his passengers.

Charged was Paul M. Chisenhall, 36, of Goshen, Ohio, following his release from Cincinnati's University Hospital on July 9. The crash resulted in the deaths of Jason C. Wright, 31, of Martinsville, Ohio; and Charles W. McMullen, 34, of Williamsburg, Ohio.

It is alleged that Chisenhall attempted to elude wildlife division officers after they attempted to stop a 2005 Saturn L300 sedan near 1,058-acre Stonelick State Park in southwest Ohio’s Clermont County.

The three wildlife division officers are Jason Keller, the Warren County wildlife officer; Eric Lamb, state wildlife officer assigned to Brown County; and Brian Glodick, a wildlife division supervisor.

All three men were initially placed on paid administrative duty, but returned to full duty July 14, said Ohio DNR Wildlife Division Chief Scott Zody.

The Highway Patrol says the incident began about 7:20 p.m., July 6, a Sunday. The patrol’s official statement says the preliminary and initial investigation reveals that the Saturn “… fled southbound on State Route 727.

“The vehicle crested a hill and the driver lost control. The vehicle traveled off the left side of the road where it struck an embankment and some trees. The vehicle continued across and off the right side of the roadway.”

In addition to the driver, Chisenhall, the Saturn’s occupants were Christina M. Singleton, 31, of Newport, Ky.; Wright; and McMullen.

Other known details were that Wright was a rear seat occupant and was not wearing a seat belt, while McMullen was the second rear seat passenger and was wearing a seat belt.

Following the crash the three wildlife division officers began administering first aid.

However, both men were pronounced dead at the scene, with Wright having been ejected from the vehicle.

Singleton was the front seat occupant next to Chisenhall and was wearing the seat belt/shoulder restraint harness, the Highway Patrol’s preliminary investigation report says.

Singleton sustained serious injuries and was taken by medical helicopter to University Hospital.

Meanwhile, Chisenhall was transported from the scene by the local township EMS and then flown to University Hospital, as well.

Following his discharge from the hospital, Chisenhall was taken to the Clermont County Jail where he was then charged with two F1 felony counts. He was so charged because Chisenhall was driving while under suspension of his driving privileges, said Lt. Wayne Price, commander of the Ohio State Highway Patrol's Clermont County post.

An F1 felony carries a possible prison term of up to 11 years, a fine of up to $20,000, or both, for each count.

Also, one local news account says Chisenhall was found guilty of driving while under the influence of alcohol/drugs in 2002 and again in 2005.

As for the DNR update, an internal review included that Keller “observed a group of individuals consuming what appeared to be alcoholic beverages and acting disorderly,” said Bethany McCorkle, the agency’s chief of communications.

Keller then requested assistance as he also observed what he concluded was littering and entering the Saturn “with what appeared to be open containers of alcohol,” the natural resources department said.

Uniformed officers then made an attempt to stop the Saturn, which sped “…away at a high rate of speed.”

Following departmental policy to ensure that protocols and policies were followed, the three wildlife division personnel were placed on paid administrative leave.

“The three officers that were involved in the incident in Clermont County have been returned to full duty as of this morning (Monday, July 14),” McCorkle said.

“At this time we have no reason to believe there was any wrongdoing,” McCorkle said in a statement, adding that it is standard procedure to evaluate pursuits to make sure policies were followed.

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