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“Distracted” driving cited in fatal Tiberi crash

“Distracted” driving cited in fatal Tiberi crash

/Saga Comm photo

HILLIARD, Ohio – An investigation into the accident that claimed the life of the 21-year-old daughter of a popular Columbus television sportscaster sheds very little light into exactly what caused the accident on the West Outerbelt on Sept. 17 that killed Maria Tiberi.

Tiberi, the daughter of WBNS (10-TV) sports anchor Dom Tiberi, was killed when the 2005 Toyota Corolla she was driving crashed into the rear end of a stopped semi on I-270 just north of Cemetery Road.

“We will never know whether a ringing phone, heavy road construction traffic or some other distraction caused Maria not to see the stopped semi-truck. This was an unfortunate accident that can serve as a message to all; focus on your driving, anticipate other’s erratic behavior and be mentally prepared for unexpected dangers,” said Hilliard Police Chief Douglas Francis.

Investigators say Tiberi was not impaired and did not appear to have been using her cell phone at the time of the accident, Francis said.

According to the accident report Tiberi was driving south bound onI-270 at 10:43 p.m. when she approached the off-ramp for the Cemetery Road exit where traffic was backed up because of road construction in the area. She failed to stop in the assured clear distance necessary and struck the rear of the tractor-trailer.

Tiberi suffered massive trauma at the scene and was pronounced dead at Grant Medical Center.

There were no signs that the car’s brakes were applied prior to the crash. Witnesses observed no erratic driving and the investigation revealed no mechanical failures involving the crashed vehicles. An autopsy also confirmed that there was no alcohol or drugs in Tiberi’s system, Francis said.

Francis says a search of cell phone records indicated that Tiberi’s cell phone was turned on and functioning but there was no evidence that she was using it at the time of the crash.

Francis says, while the precise cause of the accident cannot be determined, Francis says investigators believed that “a momentary lapse of attention or an unknown distraction was the probable cause.”

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