The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 25, 2013

Madison awaits evidence

By MARGIE NETZEL - mnetzel@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

MADISON TOWNSHIP — Madison Township police investigators are awaiting paint chips and other trace evidence, including autopsy photographs, from the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Department to help track down the driver of Friday’s fatal hit-and-run.

Joseph Gersin, 28, of Madison Township was found “unresponsive” and lying on Hubbard Road at Tarbell Avenue, Sgt. Ralf Caswell said, the apparent victim of a hit-and-run. He died at the Lake Health Madison emergency department.

Now investigators are waiting for autopsy findings to lead them to the driver of what they think is a white or cream colored car, Caswell said.

“Right now we are looking for a white car with and undetermined amount of front end damage,” he said. “That’s all we have. But we are waiting for trace evidence — especially paint chips and possibly some indentations — from the autopsy, which could help us narrow the search.”

Caswell said he expects the initial evidence and preliminary autopsy report today or Tuesday.

Investigators are also examining broken pieces of the vehicle that were left behind. Caswell said vehicle manufacturers all use different paints, and the chips could tell what kind of vehicle struck and killed Gersin.

The vehicle may have moderate front end damage, including damage to the windshield, Caswell said.

“It’s hard to know until we get the autopsy report back,” he said. “The windshield damage could be as much as a huge crack or as little as none at all. (Gersin) was tossed over the vehicle and may have hit the windshield, or not.”

Caswell said Gersin was not in the roadway long before he was discovered, though investigators found no tire skid marks on the roadway.

“There are no signs that (the driver) ever slowed down,” he said. “It is difficult to say what happened at that intersection because that is a very dark stretch of road with no lights at the intersection at all.”