A passenger injured in a fatal accident during a police pursuit that sparked a state task force has died, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.
Loretta Creech, 56, of Beavercreek, died Thursday at Hospice of Dayton, according to the coroner’s office, which said the cause of death was acute respiratory failure along with complications of cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The office said the manner of death was natural causes.
Creech was injured in a March 2016 accident during which Dayton’s Kyndra J. Shackelford, then 18, fled Huber Heights police in a stolen car, blew through a red light and T-boned a car driven by Mark Harper. Harper, 50, was pronounced dead at the scene and Creech was injured.
Shackelford had a blood-alcohol level of .24 — three times the legal limit — and illegal and legal drugs in her system.
In December 2016, Shackelford was sentenced to 16 years and three months for aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular assault, failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer and grand theft auto.
A Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman said Friday they would look at the possibility of any new charges against Shackelford.
A message left for defense attorney Marshall Lachman, who represented Shackelford, was not immediately returned.
During her sentencing, Shackelford started crying and the judge suspended the hearing as deputies took her out of the courtroom and several gallery members stood up and walked out.
Shackelford, now 21, is serving her sentence at the Dayton Correctional Institution. She is scheduled to get out on June 25, 2032, but is statutorily eligible for early release on March 27, 2029, according to Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Correction records.
The fatal police pursuit sparked then Ohio Attorney General and incoming Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to form a group to study such policies and suggest a statewide standard.
DeWine’s 12-member group announced at the time that 352 people, including one officer and 147 bystanders, were killed in law enforcement pursuits from 1982 to 2014.
“I’m not judging that one,” DeWine said of the Huber Heights pursuit. “But here you had someone (innocent) who was killed, so it just got me back thinking about the question.
“We have in this state over 900 law enforcement agencies. There is no statewide policy. And it’s not just about how the pursuit is conducted, it’s also about whether you initiate the chase to begin with.”
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