The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 23, 2013

Snowmobile crash kills Rome man

Star Beacon

AUSTINBURG TOWNSHIP —  A 48-year-old Rome man was killed in a snowmobile crash Tuesday night, the Ohio State Highway Patrol reports.

Steve Pawlowski and a friend were riding their snowmobiles down Woodside Drive at about 10 p.m. when Pawlowski drove off the right side of the road, struck a tree and was ejected from his vehicle, OHP reports.

Mongell said Pawlowski, who was wearing a helmet, was killed instantly.

“He died on impact,” coroner's chief Investigator Richard Mongell said, “of blunt trauma to the head and trunk. (Pawlowski’s body) also struck the tree.”

Pawlowski, who was found 50 feet from his crashed snowmobile, was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:20 p.m., he said.

Pawlowski and the friend had “a few drinks” at the Grand River Manor in Austinburg Township, Mongell said. Mongell said Pawlowski was riding behind his friend when he crashed.

“The friend was with him, driving ahead of him on Woodside Drive,” he said. “The friend looked back and couldn’t see (Pawlowski), so he assumed (Pawlowski) went home.”

The friend went to Pawlowski’s home and then returned down Woodside Drive to look for Pawlowski, Mongell said.

“At that point, a passer-by saw the snowmobile upside down in a ditch and called 911,” he said.

Toxicology tests will be conducted, Mongell said.

Mongell said weather was also a likely factor in the crash.

“It was snowing really hard (Wednesday) night and the crash occurred in a very dark area,” he said.

Mongell said snowmobiles can navigate faster than cars in the snow and must be considered as dangerous as a car in treacherous conditions.

“Snowmobiles go faster in the snow than a car, but a snowmobile drives like a car. You can lose control of a snowmobile very easily at a high rate of speed,” he said.