Driver Was Going 96 MPH in Crash that Killed Family of Five
In the crash that killed five people on Staffordsburg Road near Independence on October 26, driver Daniel Greis was speeding at nearly 100 miles per hour.
Greis, 57, appeared in Kenton District Court on Thursday, laid out on a stretcher on which he was wheeled into the courtroom, having suffered multiple fractures in the head-on collision.
Mere feet away, family members of the five killed by Greis, sobbed. Rodney Pollitt, 26, his fiancee, Samantha Malohn, 27, and their three children, Haileann Pollitt, 9, Brenden Pollitt, 8, and Caillie Pollitt, 6, all died at the scene.
Pollitt was behind the wheel of his Honda Accord returning to his home in Independence. Greis was on his way back to his Independence home, too, after a day of playing golf at Hickory Sticks in the Campbell County community of California.
He had been drinking, Kenton County Police Sergeant Christopher Haddle testified Wednesday in court where Greis faces five murder charges. Earlier in the day, Greis had also smoked marijuana and some pot was found at the scene of the crash.
In reconstructing the accident, investigators believe that Greis, driving a Honda Pilot SUV, attempted to pass another vehicle on the curvy, country Staffordsburg Road in unincorporated Kenton County. There is no permissible passing on that stretch, but despite that, Greis made his move.
Haddle said that the air bag monitor device indicated that Greis had been traveling at 83 miles per hour five seconds before the impact with Pollitt's Accord.
At the point of impact, the speed had reached 96 miles per hour.
When Haddle revealed those details in court, family of the victims loudly sobbed.
"It's unbelievable," said Ken Cooper, Malohn's grandfather. "I don't know what to think. I can't cope with it. I have no words. He deserves everything he is going to get."
Malohn's mother, Tina Morgan said that both families have come together to mourn.
"We've lost beautiful children," Morgan said. "They were not wealthy but they were very much in love and very happy."
The three children attend Grant County Schools where other kids are still struggling to cope, Morgan said.
Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders spoke against the defense attorney's request to lower Greis's bond, an attempt to allow the defendant to pursue physical therapy privately.
Ultimately, District Judge Ken Easterling stated that probable cause had been established and that the case would be considered by the Kenton County Grand Jury. He kept the bond at $1 million cash.
Sanders said that he expects the murder charges to stay, and that Greis will receive treatment from the Kentucky Department of Corrections in LaGrange. He and Easterling characterized the crash as a wanton act, and not an accident, because Greis opted to consume alcohol and drugs and then drive at a high rate of speed.
"It looked like a bomb went off between the two cars," said Sanders, who went to the scene the day of the crash. "Accidents happen and people don't face criminal charges. ... This should have been avoided. The Pollitt family should still be with us."
Meanwhile the Kenton County Police Department is still looking for anyone who may have been driving on Staffordsburg or Visalia Roads on October 26 between 4:30 and 4:50 p.m., and had possibly seen Greis's Honda Pilot driving erratically.
The Independence Fire District is hosting a fundraiser for the Pollitt family on November 18 at St. Barbara Church.
Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher