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OSHP: Alcohol suspected factor in Licking County crash that killed 19-year-old, injured 17-year-old

OSHP says alcohol is believed to be a factor in a crash that killed a 19-year-old and seriously injured a 17-year-old early Monday morning.

GRANVILLE, Ohio — A 19-year-old woman was killed early Monday morning when the vehicle she was riding passenger in swerved from the road, hitting two trees and ejecting her in the process. 

A 17-year-old was driving the 2013 Lincoln MKZ southbound on Mink Street in Licking County when he lost control of the vehicle at around 4:15 a.m., driving off the east side of the road, according to a release from the Ohio State Highway Patrol. 

The car struck two trees, ejecting 19-year-old Ashleigh Church from the passenger seat before catching fire, troopers said. She was pronounced dead by emergency responders. 

A good Samaritan who stopped to help was able to pull the 17-year-old from the car, who was seriously injured and taken to Mount Carmel East Hospital. 

“I pulled him away and his pant leg was on fire, so I took my shirt off and put the fire out on his pant leg,” Gary Darst said. “I just hate it because there's nothing I could do about the girl. That bothered me.” 

Ohio State Highway Patrol Lieutenant Aaron Vollmer said if it wasn't for Darst, the 17-year-old would have lost his life.

“We are lucky we had one survive this crash, it was that bad. The vehicle engine was over 100 feet from the vehicle itself, it was burned down to just the metal. It was a bad crash,” Vollmer said.

According to OSHP troopers, Church was not wearing her seat belt at the time of the crash. Alcohol is believed to be a factor, troopers said.  

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. The Ohio State Highway Patrol is waiting on a blood test and there are no BAC results at this time.  

So far this year, OSHP has reported 21 fatal crashes in Licking County. 

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