Three people killed in Jerusalem Twp. crash, drunk-driving suspect identified
Three people are dead after a crash in Jerusalem Township early Sunday morning. Authorities responded to the deadly scene at Cousino and Seaman Roads after midnight.
State troopers said the driver of a van, Alejandro Ramirez-Jaramillo, 26, was driving while intoxicated. He allegedly ran a stop sign on northbound Cousino and hit a white SUV traveling eastbound on Seaman. The family in the SUV were pronounced dead at the scene.
Those victims of the crash have been identified as: Robin Shellhammer, 60, of Oregon; his wife, Barbara Shellhammer, 56, and their daughter Whitney Meinke, 33, from Curtice.
All travelers in Jaramillo's vehicle suffered minor injuries.
Barb Shellhammer was the director of Nourish Early Learning along Navarre and that's where a makeshift memorial continues to grow.
Meinke served as a teacher with the Benton-Carroll-Salem school district. She taught third grade at RC Waters Elementary School.
Ramirez-Jaramillo is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide. He was booked at the Lucas County Jail and held for U.S. Border Patrol.
A Border Patrol spokesperson confirms to 13abc Ramirez-Jaramillo was in the United State illegally. A statement from the spokesperson reads, "On March 26, 2017, U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Sandusky Bay Station (SBY) responded to a request from the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) to identify the driver involved in a traffic accident that resulted in three fatalities. SBY Agents responded to St. Charles Mercy Hospital in Oregon, Ohio where they interviewed the driver who freely admitted to Agents that he is a Mexican citizen illegally present in the United States. The driver was released from the hospital and transported to the Lucas County Jail by OSHP. The subject is currently in OSHP custody facing charges related to causing the deaths of three subjects while operating a vehicle under the influence. The United States Border Patrol placed a detainer on the subject."
Agents confirm one of the passengers in the vehicle was also in the United States illegally, "Additionally, after identifying the driver OSHP informed the SBY Agents that a passenger in the vehicle was also at the hospital. The agents made contact with the subject, who also freely admitted to being in the United States illegally. The subject was released from St. Charles Mercy Hospital and was taken into custody by SBY Agents at that time. The subject was processed with a Notice to Appear and was turned over to ICE-ERO."
This marks the 6th death in this small town in just one week. Three people were killed in a separate drunk driving crash last week. Sgt. Christopher Fitzgerald said if you see someone drink and try to get behind the wheel, do something about it.
"We have units out there that are aggressively trying to stop this increasing problem that we are having. Trying to get the word out for people to understand and be responsible. You know if you're going to go out and drink get a designated driver," stated Sgt. Christopher Fitzgerald with Ohio State Highway Patrol. "When you don't you know we have tragic instances like we've had in the past week."
Lieutenant Matt Leutke with the Lucas County Sheriff's office said authorities are increasing patrols to stop drunk driving. "We are going to have patrols out here to traffic. We are also planning on putting together an OVI checkpoint for Jerusalem township within the next seven days."