The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 28, 2013

Winter ride turns deadly

Conneaut man killed on snowmobile

Star Beacon

CONNEAUT —  A city man was killed early Sunday morning when his snowmobile failed to negotiate a turn on Middle Road, causing him to be ejected from the machine, said Jim Baehr, an investigator for the Ashtabula County Coroner’s Office.

“The snowmobile failed to negotiate a corner and went up an embankment and struck a cluster of trees and he was ejected from the snowmobile and came to rest alongside the road,” Baehr said.

The victim of the crash was William Bemme, 38, of Conneaut, Baehr said. He said he was riding with a friend who notified authorities but Bemme was pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash occurred about 5:30 a.m. about 100 yards south of 716 Middle Road, Baehr said. He said maintaining the control of any vehicle on icy roads must be a priority.

Baehr said Bemme was wearing a helmet but there were signs of head injuries. ”Right now it (the cause of death) looks to be blunt force trauma to the head,” he said.

He said routine toxicology tests will be conducted with the results expected in two to three weeks.

Conneaut Fire Department Capt. John Chapin said they received the call of a snowmobile crash at 5:38 a.m. Baehr and Chapin said the first snowmobile was able to manage the turn but Bemme was not as fortunate.

Chapin said the fire department and police department were on the scene assisting with traffic control. He said the fire department left the scene at 8:14 a.m.

The Conneaut Police Department did not return a call seeking information concerning the crash.