By MARK TODD and CARL FEATHER - Staff Writers
MONROE TOWNSHIP — Two Pierpont Township cousins died early Thursday morning in a one-vehicle accident on Middle Road, authorities said.
Just a few hours later, a young woman heading to her job in Conneaut escaped serious injury when her vehicle struck and killed a horse on Route 7, then careened into a house near the intersection of Route 84, witnesses said.
Killed in the Middle Road crash were Daniel R. Miller, 21, and cousin Katie H. Miller, 20, according to the OHP and the Ashtabula County Coroner’s office. Sgt. Keith Palmer of the OHP gave this account of the crash:
At 1 a.m., a 1999 Jeep driven by Daniel Miller was traveling north on Middle Road near Hammond Corners Road when it left the right of the road and entered a ditch. The vehicle struck a driveway embankment and then a tree, said Sgt. Keith Palmer of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Alcohol is believed to be a factor, the OHP reports. Toxicology tests will be conducted but no autopsies have been ordered, said coroner Dr. Pamela Lancaster. Some results could be known before the end of the month, said Richard Mongell, coroner’s chief investigator.
Troopers are investigating to see if seat belts were worn by the occupants, Palmer said.
About 3 1/2 hours later, at 4:30 a.m., a woman driving a compact car north on Route 7 struck a horse that was standing in the highway a short distance south of Route 84, according to reports. The impact instantly killed the horse; the vehicle veered east into a field and crashed into a house at 4826 Center Road.
The name of the driver was not known and no report from the OHP, which investigated the crash, was available Thursday. The woman was transported to UH Conneaut Medical Center by Kingsville Township ambulance, said Neal Stewart, Kingsville fire chief.
Stewart said it appeared the driver was stunned after striking the horse because there was no evidence she tried to slow down before hitting the house.
“She hit (the house) pretty hard,” he said. “She was going a pretty good clip.”
Ron Eldred said the vehicle hit the south corner of his two-story frame house. The impact broke a section of the foundation and pushed in a section of the wall. There were no injuries to the occupants, who were asleep at the time of the impact.
A man driving behind the woman on Route 7 witnessed the crash and came to the woman’s aid after she hit the house, reports show. The woman told him she was en route to her job at a Conneaut restaurant. The witness said one horse was on the highway while another stood nearby off the road.
Owner of the horses was not immediately known. A tractor arrived at the scene to pull the dead horse off the road, Stewart said.