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Friend says Rumpke worker killed in drugged driving crash was kind-hearted, outgoing

Posted at 11:29 AM, Aug 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-15 00:44:46-04

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- The driver who on July 30 crashed into the back of a Rumpke truck, killing a Rumpke worker, is suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or medication at the time of the crash, according to the crash report released Tuesday.

"Nobody was ever a stranger" to David Evans, the 52-year-old driver who died that afternoon when the man's pickup crashed into the back of his truck and pinned him between the two vehicles. Evans was throwing trash into the back of his truck at the time, according to Rumpke spokeswoman Molly Yeager.

RELATED: Middletown residents top trash cans with flowers to honor Rumpke driver

Longtime friend Michael Rolfe said Tuesday night that Evans was among the kindest, friendliest people he had ever known. The pair worked at the annual Harvest Home Fair for 35 years.

When he learned a Rumpke driver had been killed on the job, he wanted to believe it had been someone else.

"I sent a text message to Dave and got no response," he said. "I tried to call his phone again and got no response, but I got a sinking feeling in my stomach."

He learned the truth later in the day. 

According to police, the driver of the vehicle that killed Evans tested positive for drug use after the incident. The report does not specify the substances detected in his bloodstream, and he is not facing charges.

Rolfe said he hopes his friend's death will remind drivers to keep an eye out for people whose work could place them on the side of the road.

"People need to be aware of flashing lights, regardless of whether it's on a police car, an ambulance, a wrecker or a roadside assistance vehicle," he said. "They need to move over and slow down."

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.