Clark County wrong-way crash death ruled suicide

The death of a New Carlisle woman who drove the wrong way on Interstate 70 and crashed into a semi has been ruled a suicide by the Clark County Coroner’s office.

Christy Lakins, 36, died on March 10 after entering the eastbound lanes going the wrong way near Ohio 41 about 5 a.m.

“The Clark County Coroner’s office spent many hours looking into this case,” Lt. Brian Aller with the Springfield Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said. “This included the actions and history of the victim prior to and up to the crash itself. Their investigation determined the death as suicide.”

According to the coroner’s report completed in May, Lakins’ cause of death was multiple trauma from the collision.

The coroner's toxicology report shows that Lakins tested positive for amphetamines (stimulants) and benzodiazepines, commonly used to treat anxiety and other conditions. The report does not indicate whether the amounts detected would have caused impairment.

Lakins death occurred within a string of wrong-way crashes on local highways this spring, including several that appeared to be intentional.

Hers is the second such death in Clark County to be ruled a suicide in the last year.

In April 2015, 35-year-old Christopher A. Coleman of Xenia died in a fiery crash on I-70 in Enon after crossing over, driving the wrong direction on the eastbound lanes and crashing head-on into a tractor trailer.

Another crash on I-70 in Madison County that resulted in the death of a Springfield man in March is awaiting a ruling by the coroner, according to the state patrol.

Troopers suspect 62-year-old Wallace Ratliff intentionally crashed his Ford Explorer on March 28 because several eyewitnesses saw him get out of his vehicle on the east side of the roadway shortly before the crash. He reportedly ran across the roadway only to turn back, get into his vehicle, and drive through a marked crossover onto the westbound side and crash into a concrete overpass pillar.

Although they represent a fraction of total crashes — 0.1 percent of Ohio crashes in 2015 — wrong-way collisions on highways are 100 times more deadly, consistently accounting for about 1 percent of traffic fatalities statewide.