A woman killed in a fiery wreck Wednesday on SR 138 in Highland County was identified Friday as Laronda Tarter, 47, of Cherry Grove, officials said.
According to the Wilmington post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Tarter was driving northbound on State Route 138 approximately one quarter mile south of Mad River Road in New Market Township when she apparently drove off the road and her vehicle struck a tree, causing the car to burst into flames.
Investigators struggled to identify Tarter’s remains, and a dispatcher at the patrol post told The Times-Gazette that they were eventually identified through dental records. Officials said DNA analysis was also employed in the identification process.
OSHP Lt. Stan Jordan said the accident happened at about 5:40 a.m. Wednesday. When officers arrived at the scene, they found Tarter’s car, a 2004 Chevrolet Impala, over a slight embankment and in a ditch, engulfed in flames.
“She just drifted off the road after making a small curve,” Jordan said. “There’s no evidence of hard breaking or anything, she drifted off the road and went into a tree.”
Investigators continue to probe what may have caused the fatal accident. Jordan speculated that Tarter may have gone to sleep behind the wheel or was looking at her phone.
The accident was the second flaming car wreck in less than four days in Highland County, the first causing the death of a Rocky Fork Lake-area woman last Saturday.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.