Man dies in 1st fatal crash this year


DARKE COUNTY — The Darke County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate the first fatal crash of the year that happened Tuesday evening where illegal narcotics may have been a factor.

On January 31 at approximately 5:07 p.m., Darke County Deputies, along with Gettysburg Fire, Gettysburg Rescue, Bradford Fire, Bradford Rescue and CareFlight were dispatched to the 9000 block of U.S. Route 36 East in reference to a two-car, head-on, injury, accident.

The preliminary investigation revealed a gray 2015 Chevrolet Cruz driven by Christan M. Thomas, 34, of Troy, was traveling westbound on U.S. Route 36 when she traveled left of the center line to pass the vehicle in front of her. Thomas collided head-on with an eastbound 2007 gray Honda Element driven by Bret J. Baumann, 49, of Troy. The collision caused Baumann’s vehicle to strike a third vehicle which was a westbound 2007 black Ford Escape driven by Victoria M. Hale, 25, of Portland, Indiana that Thomas was attempting to pass.

Thomas was transported to Wayne HealthCare by Gettysburg Rescue where she was treated and released. Her passenger, Tyler J. Baumgardner, 23, of Troy, was pronounced dead at the scene. He was not wearing a seat belt.

Baumann was transported to Miami Valley Hospital by CareFlight where he is listed in serious condition. Hale was treated and released from the scene.

The Darke County Sheriff’s Office Accident Reconstruction Team and the Darke County Coroner’s Investigator also responded to the scene for further investigation.

Illegal narcotics were located at the scene and could be a factor in the accident.

Staff report

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