Patrol finds alcohol was a factor in fatal crash

LISBON – The Lisbon Post of the highway patrol is reporting that alcohol played a factor in a fatal accident last weekend.

According to a release by the patrol, toxicology reports determined that Brooke A. Penick, 25, Southeast Boulevard, Salem, and Stephen W. Bell, 27, N. Lincoln Ave., Salem, were both under the influence of alcohol when the 1999 Chevrolet Lumina driven by Penick traveled off the road, struck a ditch and overturned on U.S. Route 62 in Butler Township March 14.

Penick and Bell were not wearing seatbelts, and both were ejected from the vehicle.

Penick was taken to Salem Regional Medical Center where she was pronounced dead. Bell was flown to St. Elizabeth’s in Youngstown with serious injuries.

During a conversation with a trooper at the hospital, Bell stated that he and Penick were at a bowling alley in Canton where they were drinking, and were on their way back home when the accident happened.

Bell also stated that Penick was the driver, also confirmed by Cambridge district investigators, who performed DNA tests throughout the week to determine the driver. At the time of the accident, it was unclear which one was the driver.

The post also reported a small plastic bag of marijuana was discovered between Penick and the vehicle at the time of the accident.

Trooper Michael Helmick handled the investigation.

In addition to the highway patrol, Perry Township police, Damascus fire, Damascus EMT and STAT MedEvac also assisted at the scene, and Reichenbach’s Towing towed the vehicle to the Lisbon post for investigation.