They were heading northbound on U.S. 42 when they struck a Dodge Charger in the intersection with Spring Valley Paintersville Road.
The driver of the Charger, 29-year-old Gregory Davidson, was treated by medics at the scene. His passenger, 27-year-old Julie Wells, of Lebanon, was taken to Greene County Memorial Hospital for treatment of injuries not considered life-threatening, according to the patrol.
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Who was at-fault in the crash has not been determined. Early indications are that the Charger failed to yield to the motorcycle, but one witness reported the motorcycle was traveling at a high rate of speed, according to Lt. Matt Schmenk, OSHP Xenia Post commander.
“Just because a motorcycle passes a car at a high rate of speed a mile from the crash scene doesn’t mean at the time the crash happened that motorcycle was still going at that high rate of speed,” Schmenk said. “Just because someone pulls out from a stop sign doesn’t necessarily make them totally at-fault, if we find out the other vehicle involved was traveling well over the posted speed limit … ”
Alcohol is not believed to be a factor, Schmenk said.
Friends and family of the victims said during interviews Monday they were still in shock.
Fudge and Cruea started wearing helmets after their friend, 25-year-old David Hill, died in a motorcycle crash in Xenia about three weeks prior, according to Sherill’s mother, Tonie Cruea. Hill was not wearing a helmet and suffered significant head injuries before he died while in intensive care at Miami Valley Hospital, she said.
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Tonie Cruea said her daughter was a gifted athlete and “a very sweet and giving person.” She had “a heart of gold” and always had a smile on her face, Tonie said.
“She would do anything for anybody,” Tonie said. “She never took anything for granted. She always said, ‘In a blink of an eye everything can change.’ Don’t ever take anything or anyone for granted.”
Kyle Minix said Fudge was his best friend, the kind of person who “if your truck broke down in the middle of the night … you called him. He’d be right there with you.”
Minix, who is also grieving the loss of his friend David Hill, echoed Sherill Cruea’s statements as recalled by her mother.
“Live everyday like it’s your last,” he said. “Hold your loved ones tight. Tomorrow is never promised. And this right here is an example of that.”
Fatal motorcycle crash statistics in Ohio
133 deaths in 3,161 crashes
200 deaths in 4,235 crashes
163 deaths in 3,800 crashes
140 deaths in 3,651 crashes
133 deaths in 3,768 crashes
163 deaths in 4,511 crashes
*Denotes year-to-date total
Source: Ohio State Highway Patrol