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Driver in fiery, wrong-way I-75 crash had drugs in system

Published: Sunday, April 30, 2017 @ 5:00 PM
Updated: Monday, May 01, 2017 @ 10:54 PM
By: Tom Gnau, Katie Wedell, Breaking News Staff

>>PHOTOS: From the scene of the crash when it happened

UPDATE @ 4:18 p.m. (July 10):

The driver in this fiery wrong-way crash, Andrew T. Brunsman, had alcohol and marijuana in his system at the time, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

The coroner’s office has ruled the cause of death from multiple blunt force injuries with the manner being accidental, according to the coroner’s report.

UPDATE@4:55 p.m. (May 8):

Dayton police on Monday afternoon released cruiser cam video of the moment they arrived at the scene of the explosion in which a wrong way driver collided with a tanker truck April 30. 

Motorist Andrew T. Brunsman, 30, of Centerville drive the wrong way and collided with the tanker truck, which exploded, police said.  

UPDATE @ 1:09 p.m.:

Wife of truck driver Richard Miller said he's not ready to speak publicly about the I-75 crash but their family wanted to extend their thoughts and prayers for the Brunsman family. 

"We are continuing to pray for the family that lost a loved one on Sunday," she said. "Our hearts go out to them," she said. "For whatever the reason is… that family lost a loved one. At this point we're just asking everyone to pray for them." "There's a lot of shock," she said.

Richard Miller suffered a dislocated shoulder in the accident.

UPDATE @ 12 p.m. (May 3, 2017):

The official crash report from the deadly I-75 wrong-way crash was released Wednesday. 

It confirms a vehicle driven by Andrew Brunsman of Centerville was driving the wrong-way on I-75 southbound when it struck a tanker which then collided with the median wall, caught fire and exploded.

The truck was owned by Lewis Transportation Inc out of Columbia Kentucky and was driven by Richard Miller, 59, of Dayton. Miller suffered only minor injuries. 

A third vehicle was damaged by debris from the crash. 

The report also shows that Brunsman’s vehicle struck the truck as it attempted to swerve to avoid the wrong-way driver. Both Brunsman’s vehicle and the truck were fully engulfed by the fire. 

The Dayton Police report indicates that alcohol or drugs are suspected to have played a role in Brunsman's actions. 

The report says alcohol and drug screenings were ordered on him via blood test, but the results are not yet known. 

The truck driver was not suspected of alcohol or drug use and was not tested.

A third car narrowly missed the horrific impact. 

A Dayton couple swerved to miss the swerving tanker traffic and noticed the wrong-way driver crossed two lanes of traffic to hit the tanker truck head on. 

>>RELATED: I-75 Crash: ‘He wanted to hit him’ says third driver

FIRST REPORT

DAYTON —  The man who drove the wrong-way on Interstate 75 before fatally crashing into a tanker full of gasoline Sunday previously had his driver’s license suspended after a suspected drunk driving incident. 

  • Ohio EPA spokeswoman Dina Pierce said there is no danger to the neighborhoods from smoke and fire produced by the collision, and that the city’s drinking water sources were not affected.
  • Dayton fire crews flushed the storm sewers to push out the gasoline, Pierce said.
  • An environmental contractor ventilated the storm sewer overnight Sunday into today. 
  • The contractor conducted air monitoring as well on Monday.

Police have yet to release their theory on why 30-year-old Andrew T. Brunsman was going the wrong way in the southbound lanes or whether they suspect alcohol to be a factor. Ohio Department of Transportation officials said they believe Brunsman entered the highway the wrong way at Third Street, driving up an exit ramp at about 4:40 p.m. 

He can be seen on ODOT traffic camera footage navigating oncoming traffic before crashing into the truck. Brunsman grew up in Beavercreek and graduated from Beavercreek High School in 2005. He then attended Wright State University, majoring in Business Economics. He graduated in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in business.

A representative from Reynolds and Reynolds in Kettering confirmed Brunsman was employed with the company at the time of his death.

RELATED: I-75 repairs will take days after deadly wrong-way crash

The truck driver, who has yet to be identified, escaped the crash with minor injuries. The subsequent explosion of the gasoline he was hauling sent smoke and flames into the air above downtown Dayton for hours, causing damage to pavement on the highway and a fire in the storm sewer system that spread to a nearby neighborhood. No other injuries were reported.

The highway is expected to be fully reopened by Thursday morning.

Court records show Brunsman had his driver’s license suspended for six months in 2013 after he was pulled over for speeding and was suspected of being intoxicated.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Wrong-way crashes in the area

He was going 85 mph in a 55 mph zone, according to Fairborn Municipal Court records. Police administered a breathalyzer test, and his blood-alcohol level was found to be .121, which is over the legal limit to drive of .08.

An operating a vehicle intoxicated charge was dismissed, and he was charged with reckless operation and speeding.

Prior to that incident, Brunsman had one speeding ticket and a misdemeanor charge for underage drinking while in college. He was given probation and did all required community service.

Brunsman’s family declined to comment on the crash.

Neighbors said Brunsman moved to Centerville when he got married in March of 2016.

His family is tight-knit, one neighbor said, and his loss is absolutely devastating for them.

> DETOURS: Detours around expected backup on SB I-75 morning commute

> VIDEO: Drone flew above crash scene

>PHOTOS: Images from the scene and above the scene

> RELATED: 911 callers warn of wrong-way driver on SB I-75 prior to fiery crash

> RELATED: Ohio third in nation for serious Hazmat transportation accidents

> RELATED: Dayton fatal crash deadliest of 2016 in Ohio