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Motorist who caused buggy crash located

By CHRISTINE L. PRATT GateHouse Ohio Media Published: August 9, 2017 12:00 AM
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WOOSTER -- After receiving a tip from the public, authorities believe they are in possession of the car involved in a hit-and-run crash with a horse-drawn buggy Wednesday night outside West Salem.

Acting on a call received Thursday evening, the 2001 champagne-color Honda Accord was located Friday morning at a Holmes County residence, according to Lt. Stephanie Norman, commander of the Wooster Post of the State Highway Patrol.

At the residence, she said, the car appeared to strategically placed to avoid detection.

The vehicle has been processed by investigators, said Norman. Based on the evidence, she said, "we're very confident" it is the vehicle in question. A search of the vehicle and its interior suggest the driver was not injured in the collision.

They are working with the West Virginia State Police to reach the owner, who resides out of state, Norman said. Officials are still trying to positively identify the person who was driving at the time of the crash.

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To that end, she said, local troopers will continue to work with the division's investigative services and intelligence unit to develop information linking an individual to the vehicle, with the ultimate goal of bringing criminal charges.

In the immediate wake of the crash, Norman said, the patrol reached out to other area law enforcement agencies and the public, via social media, seeking information on the driver or involved vehicle, a make and model of which were identified by parts left at the scene.

Subsequently, she said, the patrol received a handful of tips, one of which proved fruitful.

She calls the effort a success, noting, "Without that phone call, it would have made it that much harder to find the vehicle."

The crash occurred on state Route 539, north of Ruff Road, in Congress Township at 7:55 p.m.

According to the patrol, the horse-drawn buggy, operated by Jacob Hershberger of Sullivan, was southbound on state Route 539, when it was struck from behind by a southbound passenger car. The collision forced the buggy off the right side of the road, where it crashed into a ditch, ejecting all but one of the five occupants. There was no evidence the car stopped or even attempted to stop, said Norman.

Two children injured in the crash remain hospitalized at Akron Children's Hospital.

Christine Pratt is a reporter for The Daily Record in Millersburg. She can be reached at 330-674-5676 or cpratt@the-daily-record.com.


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