Piketon Man Faces Charges After Tragic Crash Claims Three Young Lives

A heartbreaking accident on Ohio 104 in Scioto County has left a community in mourning, as a Piketon man faces charges of aggravated vehicular homicide.

The incident occurred on Friday, May 24, near milepost 13 in Morgan Township, prompting an immediate response from authorities, including the Portsmouth Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

According to reports, Gage A. Smith, 22, of Piketon, was driving northbound on Ohio 104 in a 1988 Chevrolet Cavalier. After overtaking another vehicle, Smith lost control, crossing the center line and colliding head-on with a southbound vehicle driven by Tyler M. Bellaw, 29, also from Piketon.

Sadly, three young children—Navy A. Copas, 4, Madison Q. Copas, 6, and Xavier A. Smith, 5—lost their lives in the crash. Additionally, Courtney D. Copas, 28, a passenger in Smith’s vehicle, sustained serious injuries and was hospitalized.

Following the collision, Gage Smith received medical treatment before being taken into custody and jailed at the Scioto County Jail. He now faces multiple charges, including three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and one count of aggravated vehicular assault.

Authorities suspect that Smith may have been under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash, indicating impairment as a potential contributing factor.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing, with multiple agencies, including the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio Department of Transportation, collaborating to uncover the full details of the tragedy.

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