Drunk Driver in Ohio Crash That Killed Five Had Been Arrested Just 48 Hours Earlier for DWI

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The alleged drunk driver who caused an Ohio highway crash that killed five people had been arrested on drunk driving charges just 48 hours earlier, records revealed Sunday.

Authorities say 61-year-old James Pohlabeln was driving the wrong way on I-75 slammed his car into an SUV carrying four people at about 3 a.m. Saturday in Dayton.

The crash killed him, as well as everyone inside the SUV. Those passengers had been four of the five members of a hard rock band called CounterFlux: Kyle Canter, 23; Devin Bachmann, 26; and Earl Miller II, 27. It also killed a friend of theirs, 29-year-old Vashti Nicole Brown.

Mr. Pohlabeln, who’d once threatened to commit suicide-by-cop, had plowed into two parked cars in another area in Dayton around 2:15 a.m. the Thursday morning before. He’d been released that night after pleading not guilty to operating a vehicle while intoxicated, and failure to control.

Authorities investigating the latter incident believe that Pohlabeln had been drinking before the crash on Saturday, and had driven the wrong way on State Route 4 just before the fatal collision.

Truck driver Chris Dues told a newspaper he pulled over on the highway until the fire department arrived.

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“It was horrific,” he said. “There was no front end on either of the vehicles. There was an alternator 10 feet from the car, just sitting out in the road. It was crazy.”

Pohlabeln had told his wife in November that he’d wanted to die after his brother passed away. His wife told authorities that he “drinks a lot,” and that he’d texted her saying he “wanted the police to kill him.”

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