December 20, 2014

Elyria
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Alcohol likely factor in fatal motorcycle crash

An Ohio Highway Patrolman investigates the scene of a double fatal collision involving a motorcycle and a Chevrolet Equinox on Grafton Road in Grafton Township on April 6. ANNA NORRIS/CHRONICLE

An Ohio Highway Patrolman investigates the scene of a double fatal collision involving a motorcycle and a Chevrolet Equinox on Grafton Road in Grafton Township on April 6. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

GRAFTON TWP. — Alcohol may have contributed to the deaths of a Columbia Station couple killed in an April 6 head-on crash.

Motorcyclist Robert Willis Jr. had a blood alcohol content of 0.20 percent when he went left of center and struck a Chevrolet Equinox in front of 36781 Grafton Road about a half-mile north of Mennell Road, police said Wednesday. The legal limit is 0.08 percent.

Passenger Jolene Willis, Robert Willis’s wife, had a 0.13 percent blood alcohol content, according to a news release from Lt. Travis Hughes, Ohio Highway Patrol Elyria post commander.

Equinox driver Debbie Harris of Grafton Township and her 6-year-old and 9-year-old grandsons were wearing seat belts and were not seriously injured in the crash, which occurred on a sharp curve.

At an April 9 memorial for the couple at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9340 in Columbia Station, friends said the Willises were coming from the post when they crashed. Robert Willis, a 38-year-old Marine master sergeant with the Reserve 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment in Brook Park, was senior vice commander at the post. Jolene Willis, 37, was a member of the post auxiliary and sometimes tended bar there, friends said.

The Willises are survived by five children ages 18, 17, 12, 7 and 5. The children are moving to Ponder, Texas, about 40 miles outside of Dallas, to live with Lori Busch, Jolene Willis’ sister, according to relatives. Family members declined comment Wednesday.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.