The Ohio State Highway Patrol determined the cause of the rollover crash that left a father and son dead in Campbell on Thursday.
State troopers investigating the deadly crash are now saying 41-year-old Mike Pickett’s Jeep had virtually no brakes and he most likely knew about that for some time.
“This was not a case of faulty brakes. This was a case of poor maintenance,” Sgt. Brian Holt said.
Troopers said Pickett lost control of the Jeep last Thursday morning while coming down the Sixth Street hill near Wilson Avenue.
He and his 11-year-old son, Marcus, were killed while his 12-year-old daughter, Leena, somehow survived despite being thrown from the vehicle. Neither Pickett nor Leena were wearing seatbelts.
“We believe he went off the road to find resistance but at that point, he’d picked up so much momentum and immediately went airborne. There was no stopping the vehicle,” Holt said.
Investigators said Pickett had just dropped three other children off moments before the crash and was taking Marcus and Leena to Lowellville, where they went to school.
Troopers said three of the brake assemblies on his Jeep had no pads at all and the fourth showed just 1 percent left. Typically, brakes are made to give off a high pitched screeching sound as they start wearing out.
“You would know that for a long period of time and then at a certain point, the ‘squealers’ just stop because the pads disintegrate or become dislodged and fall out of the car,” Holt said.
On Sunday, a vigil was held in Roosevelt Park for the victims of the crash. A memorial was also set up where the accident happened.
Ironically, as dozens gathered to remember them, troopers learned that Pickett did have an appointment to have his brakes fixed on Thursday — after dropping off his kids.
Investigators are saying this is a horrible example of what can happen when maintenance is put off for too long.