By SHELLEY TERRY - firstname.lastname@example.org
A fatal rollover crash happened at about 6:30 p.m. Friday in the 2700 block of Carpenter Road, and alcohol is suspected, according to police and coroner reports.
A 53-year-old Ashtabula man, with a male passenger, were in a sports utility vehicle heading west on Carpenter Road when the driver attempted to pass a small car that was turning left, Ashtabula County Coroner’s Office investigator Jim Behr said.
Apparently, the driver of the SUV didn’t realize the small car was turning left until it was too late, witnesses said.
“The SUV then went off the road and sheared a (utility) pole,” Behr said.
The driver, whose name is being withheld pending notification of his family, was pronounced dead at the scene, Behr said.
City Manager Jim Timonere said he heard a loud boom from his home on Deerfield Drive.
“My son just went outside to play,” he said. “I heard the crash, the power went out and my son said he saw fire. I knew it had to be a bad accident.”
Timonere ran over to Carpenter Road to help in any way he could be of assistance, witnesses said, but there wasn’t much he could do.
“It’s terrible,” he said. “No one should see this.”
The sports utility vehicle was split in half from the impact with the utility pole, he said.
Both occupants had to be extracted from the vehicle, police said.
The male passenger in the SUV was transported by ambulance to Ashtabula County Medical Center and then flown by medical helicopter to a Cleveland hospital, police said.
The driver of the small car received minor injuries and was not transported, police said.
“There was no autopsy, but a toxicology test was done and alcohol is suspected,” Behr said.
Ashtabula Police and Ohio State Highway Patrol were on the scene, investigating the crash and diverting traffic for several hours.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating the accident. No more names were available, pending notification of relatives.