By MARGIE NETZEL - email@example.com
HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP —
Drivers on Route 534 watched in horror as a speeding car launched over an embankment Wednesday and crashed into a tree, killing a Ashtabula man and ejecting his 2-year-old son, Ashtabula County Coroner’s Investigator Rich Mongell said.
Zachary T. Murphy, 21, was pronounced dead at 11:30 a.m., Mongell said, and witnesses found his injured son, Bentley, on the side of the road.
Mongell said witnesses reported Murphy was “driving south at a high rate of speed, passing cars as he went.”
“He went off west side of roadway, traveled for a distance to an embankment, flipped the vehicle and hit a tree,” Mongell said. “The car was actually wrapped around the tree — that’s how I would describe it.”
Mongell said Murphy died instantly of blunt trauma to the head, trunk and extremities.
Though it is uncertain if Murphy was wearing a seat belt, he was trapped in the car as the toddler was ejected.
“We are, at this time, unsure if (the boy) was in a safety seat or a seat belt,” Mongell said. “If he was in a safety seat or belt, how was he ejected? Just looking at the car, I am actually surprised he was thrown from the car. Bystanders found him by the side of the road. He is a lucky little boy.”
Mongell said he arrived at the scene after the boy was taken to Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, but understood the child would survive his injuries.
Mongell said he isn’t sure where Murphy was headed when he crashed. No autopsy will be performed, but toxicology results are expected in 10 to 14 days.
The crash is the second roadway fatality in Ashtabula County in two days, as 76-year-old Suzanne M. Byerley was killed in a car versus semi truck crash Tuesday morning on Route 7 in Pierpont Township, the Ohio State Highway Patrol reports.