Arafat Silmi, 19, of Fairway Circle, sustained “extensive hand injuries,” Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth said.
Silmi was in the passenger seat of a vehicle being driven by a 16-year-old Monroeville boy. Sigsworth said their friend was traveling behind them on Ohio 2 near Berlin Road when the incident happened about 9:30 a.m.
As a prank, Silmi reportedly loaded a mortar shell into a tube and attempted to fire it at the friend traveling behind them. Sigsworth said deputies determined the teen loaded the mortar backwards and it exploded in his hand.
The Monroeville driver initially headed toward Fisher-Titus Medical Center.
“The driver then drove to the fire station,” said Sigsworth, referring to the Milan Township station at the intersection of U.S. 250 and Ohio 13.
North Central EMS transported Silmi from the fire station to the helicopter base just up the road on U.S. 250. From there, a LifeFlight helicopter flew him to the University of Toledo Medical Center for treatment. A hospital spokeswoman said there was no patient with Silmi’s name there Tuesday afternoon.
As a precautionary measure, the Lorain County bomb squad was called in.
“There were other mortar shells in the vehicle. They were removed,” Sigsworth said, referring to commercially manufactured fireworks.
The sheriff was asked if there was a possibility of any charges being filed.
“That will be decided by the prosecutor once all the facts are known,” Sigsworth said.