Newport crash victims were husband and wife with 'great hearts'

Posted at 12:21 PM, Aug 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 12:24:16-04

A 28-year-old's high-speed flight from law enforcement on Friday night began with an attempted traffic stop and ended in a crash that killed a husband and wife.

Three days later, neither the Cincinnati Police Department nor the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, both of which pursued the man across the Roebling Bridge, had disclosed the reason for the vigorous pursuit. The only information provided in the Cincinnati Police Department's Monday news release identified Mason Meyer, 28, as the subject of an unspecified ongoing investigation.

In the same release, police said they gave chase Friday after Meyer refused to cooperate with an attempted traffic stop in Cincinnati. Meyer led them across the river into Covington, then lost control of his vehicle while attempting to flee through Newport.

The resulting wreck killed 81-year-old Raymond Laible and his wife, 80-year-old Gayle Laible, both of whom had been sitting outside Press on Monmouth cafe when Meyer’s vehicle veered off the road and struck them.

Raymond Laible survived long enough to be pronounced dead across the river at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. The Hamilton County Coroner's Office released his identity Monday morning.

Gayle Laible died at the scene. The Campbell County Coroner's Office confirmed her identity on Tuesday.

A witness, Steve Caminiti, said Friday he had watched it happen: The Laibles were sitting outside when Meyer’s car “plowed into them,” sending one “flying up into the air.”

The couple had been well-known on Monmouth Street, according to workers at nearby Sis's on Monmouth. Their frequent walks brought them down to the restaurant almost every Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday — sometimes to eat, sometimes to stick their heads in the door and say hello. The staff kept a special bottle of wine set aside for Gayle, knowing it was her favorite.

“Ray was always making jokes and making fun of people,” said Kristin White, who works at Sis's. “Great hearts. The word to describe them is just genuine.”

Gayle, a lifelong artist, described herself in an online gallery listing as a retired mother and grandmother who was always excited to learn something new. Her family plans to donate some of her paintings to Sis's, according to White.

Two other bystanders were injured.

Meyer and two passengers in his vehicle were arrested at the scene of the wreck, but none of the trio had been charged with any new crimes by Monday night. Meyer was held on an outstanding warrant; so was 21-year-old passenger Kristen Johnson.

The third occupant of the vehicle remained unidentified.