Man trapped in car, towed from scene of accident

Deputy reprimanded for not noticing man in car before towing

Tow truck driver accidentally discovers man inside vehicle.

Update@6:42 p.m.:

A Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputy has been disciplined for failing to do a proper inventory on a vehicle that was towed New Year’s Day from a crash scene after the driver was found injured inside that vehicle six hours later.

Deputy Brian Crowe is a senior, “well-trained” employee with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, said Maj. Daryl Wilson. The written reprimand he received March 5 is the first disciplinary action taken against him. The reprimand was for failure to file a proper tow inventory report, which is required for all vehicles prior to it being taken from a crash scene.

Crowe responded to a single car crash on Wagoner Ford Road in Harrison Twp. New Year’s Day. The car struck a utility pole, causing live power lines to fall across the vehicle. Six hours after the wires were removed and Busy Bee Towing removed the vehicle to their nearby facility, the driver, 42-year-old Mark Gilliam, was heard by tow employees screaming for help. He was found inside the car, and may not have been previously visible due to having fallen under a deployed airbag, Wilson said.

While the wires may have temporarily prevented the deputy from properly surveying the car, Wilson said that did not recuse Crowe from completing the inventory report and filing it. Had Crowe done so, he “may have found the driver.”

“The key word is ‘may,’” Wilson said. “Obviously if he did (the inventory), maybe the gentleman would have been located. That’s besides the point. It’s a violation of policy.”

Gilliam has been released from a local hospital and was cited for failure to control. While Wilson said Crowe made an error not taking an inventory, he said the sheriff’s office is not responsible for what happened to him.

“The sheriff’s office didn’t put that gentleman behind the wheel and make him crash. So things happen,” Wilson said.

Crowe is a patrol officer in Harrison Twp.

First take (Jan. 3):

A man in critical condition was found inside a car six hours after the vehicle was involved in a crash and towed from the scene New Year’s Day.

The victim, who deputies have not yet identified, was transported to Grandview Medical Center in Dayton for treatment of his wounds, which a 911 caller described as leg injuries.

“I towed a car last night. I went to go take care of the lot, this guy’s still in his vehicle,” an unidentified worker from Busy Bee Auto Parts and Towing Inc. told emergency dispatchers around 9 a.m. Thursday. “To tell you the truth, I don’t know if this guy came back to his car and climbed in it.”

Capt. Jeremy Roy with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said the Webster Street tow yard worker opened the front door of the crashed vehicle to throw remaining debris into the vehicle when they heard the man yell for help from the floorboard in the front of the car.

“Since the car was now up on a flatbed they opened up one of the doors to put some more debris into the front seat, which is what they normally do,” Roy said. “At that angle they were able to see that there’s a person in there that had screamed for help.”

Deputies responded to the crash in the 3600 block of Wagner Ford around 3 a.m. New Year’s Day after a Chevrolet Impala crashed into a utility pole and through a fence at Willowview Cemetery.

Roy said deputies and other first responders searched in and around the vehicle, but were unable to locate the driver before clearing the scene around 4:30 a.m.

“Our crews, along with Harrison Township fire, were looking all around the cemetery,” Roy said.

The crash scene was about 500 feet from the Busy Bee Auto Parts and Towing, but deputies are not able to confirm whether the man was in the vehicle when it was towed or if he returned to the vehicle after it was towed to the business.

“It’s still an ongoing and very fluid investigation,” said Roy.

It could be 30 to 45 days until investigators know exactly how the man ended up in the vehicle at the tow yard, Roy said.

“If this is a case where somebody was missed, it’s usually due to a crash involved in a rollover, possibly an ejection, where you’re not really sure where that person is,” Roy said. “We will conduct our full investigation. If we feel there is some issues, or proper protocol or procedures weren’t followed, then we will open up an internal investigation.”

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