Friday, June 6, 2008

Investigators: Driver likely fell asleep

Toxicology tests not being conducted for victims of Sunday crash

Express Staff Writer

Brooke Selisch, Pauline Hoagland Photo by Jason Kauffman

The Blaine County Sheriff's Office has determined that neither alcohol nor drugs "seem to be a factor" in a fatal crash on Sunday that claimed the lives of two Hailey teenagers.

However, statements made by sheriff's officers indicate they have not ruled out the possibility, nor has the sheriff's office released information regarding how it reached its conclusions.

As of Thursday, in-depth toxicology tests were not being conducted on either of the accident victims.

A blood-alcohol test for 16-year-old Brooke Selisch, who the sheriff's office has determined was the driver of the vehicle in the fatal crash, turned out "basically negative," Ada County Coroner Erwin Sonnenberg told the Mountain Express on Thursday.

"I'd say she didn't have a drink, and if she did it was out of her system," Sonnenberg said.

He said that in-depth toxicology tests would only be conducted if the sheriff's office investigation suggested that such tests were warranted.

The Ada County Coroner's Office has handled the inquiry into the Selisch death because she died early Sunday evening at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, in Ada County.

The inquiry into the death of 17-year-old Pauline Hoagland, the other victim of the crash, has been handled by the Blaine County Coroner's Office because she died Sunday morning at St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center south of Ketchum.

Blaine County Coroner Russell Mikel said a blood-alcohol test was not conducted on Hoagland because she was not believed to be the driver of the vehicle.

Selisch and Hoagland died from head and chest injuries received in a single-vehicle rollover shortly before 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 1, on Gannett Road south of Bellevue. The sheriff's office reported that Selisch and Hoagland, along with 16-year-old Aksel Sliwicki, were returning from an all-night party south of Carey in Lincoln County when the accident occurred. Sliwicki received a head injury and was treated at released at St. Luke's.

The sheriff's office has determined that Selisch likely fell asleep at the wheel.

"They were tired when they left Carey," said Capt. Ed Fuller. "The indication is that she was tired and fell asleep."

The sheriff's office believes that neither Selisch nor Hoagland were wearing seat belts, but that Sliwicki likely was wearing one.

"The indication is that he was asleep in the back seat," Fuller said.

Both Selisch and Hoagland were ejected from the vehicle, a black 1993 Jeep Cherokee, which the sheriff's office has determined was traveling less than 40 miles per hour when the accident occurred.

Fuller said the deaths were likely caused by the girls being ejected from the vehicle.

Selisch was a rodeo queen and finished her sophomore year this spring at Wood River High School.

Hoagland attended Silver Creek Alternative School at the beginning of last school year, later obtained her General Education Diploma and had aspirations of becoming an attorney.

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