Rachel Rene Schidecker, now 19, was only 18-years old on August 11, 2012 when she allegedly made the fatal decision to drive while acutely intoxicated. She drove her white Ford Explorer north on Interstate-75, in the southbound lanes. She entered the highway in downtown Dayton, driving some four miles in the wrong direction.
Several 9-1-1 calls were made reporting the white Explorer driving the wrong way on a major interstate highway. As dispatchers and officers scrambled to get on the highway to stop her, their efforts were unfortunately too late. Near the Neva Road exit, just north of downtown Dayton, Rachel Schidecker drove her vehicle into the path of a red Chevy Blazer, driven by David Wilson, striking the vehicle nearly head-on. The impact of the crash sent Wilson's vehicle into the path of a semi-tractor/trailer. Wilson's vehicle became wedged under the trailer and was dragged several hundred feet before it burst into flames. Good Samaritans were able to pull Wilson out of his vehicle. His passenger, 39-year old Chereece Rule was pinned inside the wreckage and burned to death. Witnesses reported hearing Rule screaming from the Blazer, but the heat and intensity of the flames made it impossible to get close enough to rescue her.
After it was all said and done, five vehicles were destroyed in the crash. Five people were transported to the hospital, including Wilson who suffered severe burns and several broken bones. Schidecker was also transported to the hospital for facial injuries.
Wilson and Rule were in the Dayton area helping Rule's son move into a dorm at Central State University.
Schideckers blood alcohol level was 0.236%. This is almost three times the legal limit for an adult in Ohio. However, because Schidecker was only 18 at the time of the crash, the legal limit in Ohio is 0.02%. She was over ten-times the legal limit for someone under the age of 21.
On March 19, 2013, Schidecker was indicted by a Montgomery County Grand Jury on several felony counts, including two counts of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, one count of Aggravated Vehicular Assault, one count of Vehicular Assault, and two counts of Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol. An arrest warrant has been issued with a nationwide extradition order.
It took nearly three months for the investigation by the Ohio State Highway Patrol to be completed, which is normal in cases of this magnitude. It then took several months for the Montgomery County Prosecutors Office to put together the case for the grand jury. Although family and friends of the victim want the case to be strong, they questioned why it took so long to bring it to court.
Schidecker had been a student at the Columbus College of Art and Design. Tips to this reporter, who has been diligently following this case, have also indicated that she may be in California. It is not clear whether an arrangement has been made with Schidecker's attorney to have her turn herself in to authorities or if she would attempt to evade capture. Because of the possibility that Schidecker is out of state, the United States Marshal's Service could become involved in the search.
If convicted on the most serious charges, Schidecker could face several years in prison. Because of sentencing guidelines, probation is not an option and a mandatory prison sentence would have to be issued.