Police report says alcohol may be a factor in crash that killed two

Benjamin Koier (source: family photo)
Benjamin Koier (source: family photo)

FISHERVILLE, KY (WAVE) - After dropping off his friends just after 11:30 p.m. on June 26, 19-year-old Benjamin Koier was heading home on Taylorsville Road. A police report says 38-year-old Melissa Graham's car crossed into oncoming traffic near Pope Lick Road and hit Koier's car head-on. Both died at the scene. Now the family of one of the crash victims is speaking out.

Family and friends of 19-year-old Benjamin Koier described him as a man who was a jokester, who had a memorable personality. They say he was just two minutes from home when their lives changed forever.

"I will miss his smile," said Sarah Schardein, Benjamin's sister.

Among family and friends, a large picture sits in the living room, of a man who's life was cut short.

"He was a little bit of a joker, you know," said Benjamin's mother, Lisa Schardein. "He was very loving. He loved kids. Loved to play with the grandkids."

"My son had a faith-based life," Lisa said. "And I believe that he's in Heaven as a result of that."

A police report says Graham may have been drunk at the time of the crash.

"I believe that she was a victim of some demons that, obviously, she had for several years in her life," Lisa said. "This morning, I woke up, and I forgave her."

Benjamin's sister hasn't reached a point where she can forgive yet.

"I'm working through it," Sarah said. "I'm hoping to get to the point to be able to forgive her. I don't know if I'm quite there yet. It's very senseless."

Through their grief, Benjamin's family and friends say they hope a message springs forward from tragedy.

"I think now, more than ever, advocate against drunk driving," Sarah said. "This could have been prevented so easily. The other message I'd like to give is: tell people that you love them."

Benjamin's mother says she hopes to meet Graham's daughter. She tells WAVE 3 she hopes they'll be able to mourn together. She also says the family plans to memorialize her son in some way to keep his memory alive.

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