AURORA, Ohio (WJW) — A suspected drunk driver is behind bars tonight, accused of causing a crash that killed a woman and left a man critically injured.
Troopers with the Ohio State Highway Patrol say it was just before 7 p.m. Friday, when a motorcycle traveling eastbound on State Route 82 in Aurora was hit from behind by a car, driven by 26-year-old Nicholas Monachino.
Troopers say Monachino was drunk behind the wheel and fled the scene. The motorcycle was forced off the road, and the driver, 29-year-old Ryan Tucholsky, and his passenger, 40-year-old Sara Tartaglio, were thrown from the bike.
Both were wearing helmets. Ryan Tucholsky suffered life threatening injuries, and was flown by Life Flight to MetroHealth Medical Center. Sara Tartaglio, a mother of two teenage sons, was pronounced dead a short time later.
Her sister spoke with FOX 8 on the condition that we not show her on camera or use her name.
She told us, “I’m disgusted by what this man did. Sara was just an amazing, amazing woman, she dedicated her life to her children, she was the best sister, she was there for me for everything, she was just a beautiful soul.”
Investigators say even though Monachino’s car was badly damaged in the collision, he never stopped, and he was so intent on eluding authorities that he kept driving, even as his passenger side front end dragged on the pavement for miles, leaving behind grooves and skid marks on the roadway.
While some witnesses stopped at the scene to try and help the two victims, others began following Nicholas Monachino, and were able to tell authorities where Monachino was headed after he fled the scene.
Troopers say at least one of the witnesses saw Monachino crash his car a second time on Pioneer Trail in Aurora, and that’s where he was arrested on charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, OVI and leaving the scene of an accident.
Sara Tartaglio’s sister says her family is grateful that the witnesses got involved.
“They’re a God-send and I would love to meet them one day and thank them for giving justice to me sister,” she said.
As they grieve, Tartaglio’s family says the tragic events of Friday night, show the terrible pain that someone can inflict when they decide to get behind the wheel after drinking.
Her sister told us, “don’t drink and drive, just call an Uber, call somebody, it’s not worth taking somebody’s life. He doesn’t know what he did, I lost my best friend, my nephews lost their mother, he’s awful, he’s an awful human being for doing this.”
Monachino is being held without bond in the Portage County Jail, pending his arraignment.