A car accident that occurred on Concord Road in the early hours of Wednesday morning resulted in no injuries to an 18-year-old Hillsboro High School student, but the same area – particularly a tree in a nearby yard – has reportedly been the site of a number of accidents, including one that claimed the life of another HHS student in 2003.
Kennedi Claycomb, 18, told The Times-Gazette she doesn’t remember very much from the Wednesday accident, but she has kept her driver’s side door handle, which she apparently ripped from the vehicle in an adrenaline rush when attempting to retrieve her phone after climbing out the window.
Claycomb’s mother, Andrea Williams, said Claycomb wasn’t speeding or driving recklessly – in fact, she said many of her daughter’s friends report she “drives like an old person” – but a steep burm in the area caused her to overcorrect, sending her vehicle into a nearby yard where it struck a tree on the passenger’s side.
If she hadn’t been wearing a seatbelt, Williams said, she fears what might have happened.
“I don’t know how I feel,” said Williams, who works for the Ohio Department of Transportation. “I feel like there are worse areas on that road, but it’s quite a situation, with as many accidents that have happened there, with that exact same tree, and that exact same yard.”
Jennifer Ritter, a 38-year-old registered nurse who lives close by, was the first person to respond to Claycomb’s accident, and, 14 years ago, was the first to respond to an accident that resulted in the death of 14-year-old Ashley Colthar and severe injuries to her sister, Christy Colthar, who was 16 at the time.
“On Wednesday, I just assumed the worst, because of what I’ve seen before,” Ritter said. “I’m an RN, but you never want to go out and have to work on somebody there. Your stomach has already sunk because you don’t know what to expect.”
According to an article that appeared in the March 22, 2003 edition of The Times-Gazette, Christy Colthar survived the accident after the vehicle hydroplaned and hit the tree, but Ashley Colthar died later from her injuries.
A number of people interviewed for the article described Ashley Colthar as kind and likeable, popular among her friends and talented at soccer.
Williams told The Times-Gazette that her daughter’s accident destroyed a roadside cross commemorating Ashley Colthar’s passing, and a family member offered to build a new one to replace it. In the meantime, Williams said, she and Claycomb placed mums in the area as a temporary memorial.
Ritter said there have been more accidents on that stretch of road than she can recall.
“I don’t know how many wrecks there have been here,” said Ritter, who has lived in the area her whole life. She said she clearly remembers at least six that have occurred while she was around, but there have been many more in the meantime.
Ritter said the road seems to mostly draw local traffic, but she feels that may be part of the problem, since drivers get used to the road and can become too comfortable driving fast.
Ritter said a large sign or flashing light signaling the dangerous curve may be a solution to the problem.
Claycomb was charged with failure to control.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.