Witnesses reported seeing a red pickup truck driving erratically Thursday evening, Nov. 8, shortly before it caused a four-vehicle accident that killed a young mother.
State Highway Patrol Investigators said Heidi Hecker of Delaware, 36, died instantly when the Subaru she was riding in was struck by the red pickup driven by Marc C. Kraft, 45, of Blendon Township.
Hecker’s 10-month-old daughter and boyfriend, 36-year-old Brad Weaver, were seriously hurt in the crash that occurred about 9 p.m. Nov. 8 on northbound U.S. Route 23, south of state Route 315, just south of Delaware. Weaver was driving the Subaru.
The force of the accident pushed the Subaru into a tow truck, and Kraft’s pickup continued on into opposing traffic, were it sideswiped a car driven by a Toledo woman.
According to one call to 911, Kraft was speeding as he headed north on Route 23 just prior to the crash.
“I’m on 23 headed north and just passing Cheshire,” the 911 caller said. “He came up on me really fast, almost swerving.”
That same caller went over to the vehicle for help after the crash.
“Oh, my God. There’s an accident,” the caller said. “And there’s a baby. Oh, my God, there’s a baby.”
Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers said the pickup truck slammed into the rear of Hecker’s car, which was waiting at a red light.
Kraft, who witnesses said was driving between 80 and 100 miles per hour, was arrested and charged with OVI.
Tricia Fliehman, Hecker’s friend, said she could not believe her friend would not get to watch her 10-month-old daughter grow up.
“I’m very sad this man made this choice and devastated so many lives, and this isn’t just a bad day, this pains lives,” Fliehman said. “Some things people need to stop and think about.”
Fliehman said she remembers Hecker as sweet and always smiling.
“This might be the toughest thing in my life, having to talk about a friend like this,” Fliehman said. “She’ll be missed.”
Kraft was arraigned on Friday morning, Nov. 9, and held in jail on a bond of $150,000. A Highway Patrol representative said he is charged with one count of OVI but likely will face additional charges.
According to prosecutors, Kraft has not had a valid driver’s license in more than 20 years. He’s last known address is on Dempsey Road in Blendon Township, near Westerville.
He also had a blood-alcohol level of 0.23, nearly three times the level considered intoxicated in Ohio.
The State Highway Patrol said Kraft has five previous drunken-driving convictions, all in Pennsylvania, and hasn’t had an operator’s license since 1992.
–Columbus Dispatch reporter Laura Arenschield contributed to this story.