Priest, driver injured in crash involving hearse in funeral procession

CINCINNATI -- Two people were injured in a crash Wednesday afternoon involving a hearse in a funeral procession at Colerain Avenue and Banning Road.

Hamilton County dispatch said the driver of the hearse and a Catholic priest were injured around 1 p.m.

The hearse owned by Dalbert, Woodruff & Isenogle funeral home was driving along Banning Road to Arlington Memorial Gardens when it was struck crossing Colerain Avenue.

Dalbert Woodruff & Isenogle hearse involved in afternoon crash

The hearse was carrying the body of 79-year-old Nancy White, who was set to be buried beside her late husband. The procession included 40 cars, which held 75 of White's family members and friends.

Her son told WCPO reporter John Genovese Wednesday night that the horror would remain fresh in the White family's minds.

"The car's flipped over, the casket's laying there and I can see everything," Kenneth White said. "My sister...  she can't even talk right now, she's devastated."

On top of the funeral's sadness, White said this is the worst day in his family's life.

"There was a group of guys standing on the corner yelling 'slow down, slow down,'" White said. "It's unreal, what do you do?"

Employees from a nearby funeral home, along with witnesses, rushed to the accident scene to offer help.

"The community that was standing up there," White said. "There were people, complete strangers, just started walking up to console us."

Jim Love of the Colerain Township Police Department said, "They were able to get all the people involved in line, get the casket out, put it into the other hearse and continue on."

For the Whites, the accident put finding closure on a long delay.

"Angry, I'm upset, I'm heartbroken," White said. "Now I've got heartache on top of heartbreak."

White was prepared to lay his mother to rest Wednesday, but the accident means he'll have to wait.

"We have to go through this again on Friday because this person doesn't see flashing lights and people yelling at them to stop," he said. "Slow down, show some respect for somebody that has lost something. She was the most important person in my life. She was my world."

The driver of the hearse was sent to Mercy West. The Catholic priest was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Their injuries were not life-threatening, and they're expected to be okay.

A second hearse picked up the casket in the back of the hearse involved in the crash.

Police were unsure Wednesday night whether the driver who struck the hearse will face charges. Before the burial takes place Friday, White and his family plan to take part in another viewing.

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