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Passenger said driver drinking before fatal crash
June 9, 2015 – 04:03 pm

The passenger said Jason Clere was “crying and very upset while driving”


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PORT CLINTON – The surviving passenger of a fatal car crash at a quarry in Rocky Ridge last weekend told police that the driver had been drinking and was “very upset” before veering off the road and into the water.

In a witness statement, the passenger, Amy Tingley, 33, told police that she and the driver, Jason Clere, 32, left the Limestone Tavern, which is about a mile and a half north of the quarry, and went to Clere’s father’s house.

After leaving Clere’s father’s house, the two eventually turned south on Rocky Ridge Road. Tingley said in the statement that Clere and his father argued and that Clere was “crying and very upset while driving.”

Clere crossed the railroad tracks north of the quarry in his 2004 Mercury Sable, going 50 mph in a 35 mph zone, when he lost control of the car near Second Street, according to the report. Tingley said she grabbed the wheel to try to help regain control, but the next thing she remembers is going off the left side of the road and hitting the water.

According to the crash report, after veering off the road, the car passed through a line of trees, struck a boulder, and continued toward the quarry, hitting two trees and overturning before landing top down in the water.

Tingley said the airbags went off, but somehow, she managed to get out of the sinking car.

She also told police that Clere had been drinking alcohol at the tavern, including beer and tequila. She said they went to the bar about 10 p.m. and that Clere was probably drinking before then.

The crash in Rocky Ridge, a village of about 400 people 5 miles northwest of Oak Harbor, was reported to the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office at 12:44 a.m. Saturday.

Tingley’s father, Norman Galliher, arrived at the scene of the crash and, according to another report from the sheriff’s office, ignored orders from a deputy and argued with an assistant fire chief. Galliher was restrained and issued a summons for misconduct at an emergency, according to police.

Galliher told police that he was just trying to help. He was advised that was fine until a law enforcement, fire or EMS representative orders him to leave. Galliher contended that nobody was doing anything to get Clere out of the car, but Deputy Chuck Shuff informed him that they were working very hard to do so.

Galliher also said he was looking for his daughter, and Shuff said he tried to direct him to her but said it appeared Galliher did not hear him because he was arguing. Shuff advised Galliher that, in a situation in which firefighters, EMS or law enforcement are on the scene, the public cannot interfere with their work. According to the report, Galliher said he was very sorry.

Members of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office Underwater Response Team managed to free Clere from his vehicle. He was taken to Magruder Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to police. Tingley was treated at Magruder for her injuries.

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