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Before Crashing and Killing Self, 3 Others in Ft. Wright, Driver Had Opioids in System

Before the fatal collision on Highland Avenue in Ft. Wright three weeks ago, driver Kenneth Hartsock had opioids in his system.

Kenton Co. Police Chief Spike Jones told The River City News Tuesday that a preliminary report conducted by the medical examiner and the accident reconstruction team revealed that Kenneth Hartsock, 48, had opioids in his system, though it was unclear whether that was the result of heroin use or prescription drugs.

As The River City News exclusively reported on September 10, Hartsock had been behind the wheel in two other vehicle crashes this year, including one in which he passed out from medication and plowed his car into a Ft. Wright pole.

On September 1, Hartsock, of Edgewood, was traveling down Highland towards 3L Highway where witnesses observed erratic driving. Jones said Hartsock reached a speed of approximately 83 miles per hour. Another vehicle, traveling up Highland at roughly 53 miles per hour was struck by Hartsock's car. Hartock and three passengers in the other vehicle all died at the scene. 

Inside that other car were driver Sarah Willis, 70, who was accompanied by her sister, Gloria Roaden, 72, in the passenger seat, and her husband, John Willis, 79, in the back seat. The Willises were from Bromley and Roaden lived in Ludlow. 

Jones said final results of the examination of Hartsock would be available soon.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Photo: Scene of crash (RCN file)