Meanwhile, the family of the local woman killed in the same accident has scheduled what their legal representatives call a “major case development” announcement for today.
Strickland spoke to the families of Trooper Joshua P. Risner and Sgt. Dale R. Holcomb of the patrol's Gallia-Meigs Post during the annual Fallen Officers Memorial at the Ohio Peace Officers Academy in London on May 2.
“As governor of the state of Ohio, I apologize for any unnecessary pain you may have gone through,” Strickland was quoted in a report aired on WSAZ-TV on Monday.
Risner, 29, and Holcomb, 45, were traveling east on Jackson Pike near the intersection with Mitchell Road on Sept. 28, 2006, when their cruiser skidded on rain-slicked pavement and struck a pickup truck driven by Lori Smith, 32, Vinton.
The gas tank on the cruiser, driven by Risner, exploded and all three perished, according to reports.
On Oct. 13, the patrol, which had been releasing periodic reports on the status of its investigation into the crash, announced that an autopsy performed on Risner by the Montgomery County coroner's office on Sept. 30 indicated Risner was intoxicated at the time of the crash.
Final toxicology and autopsy tests proved otherwise and were announced by the patrol shortly afterward. The coroner's initial finding was disputed from the start by local authorities and the Ohio Troopers Association, who said natural decomposition may have increased Risner's blood alcohol level after his death.
Risner had been a trooper for seven years and Holcomb was a 21-year patrol veteran. Smith, who was self-employed, had three children, two daughters aged 18 and 15, and a 16-year-old son.
A press conference has been set for 11 a.m. today in Columbus by Smith's family “to announce a major development in the case,” according to a press release issued on the family's behalf on Tuesday.
No statements about the announcement will be made before the press conference, according to the press release and a spokesperson for Columbus attorney Paul O. Scott.
The Tribune is staffing the press briefing and will have complete details in Thursday's edition.