'Missing' driver identified

Zoe Greszler • Updated Feb 4, 2019 at 4:18 PM

MILAN — A local man has been identified as the suspected missing driver in a Friday night crash.

Barrett Moehlman, 28, of Collins, was charged with failure to control and fleeing the scene of an accident after he was involved in a rollover crash at about 9 p.m. Friday.

First responders spent hours searching for him in the cold, believing he may have been injured and missing when he actually fled the scene of accident.

“He lost control and went off the right side of the road, then off the left side, hit a telephone pole, a large tree and then hit several small trees,” Erie County Sheriff’s Deputy Brett Szakats said. “The vehicle landed upside down … near the ravine.”

Seminary Road was closed late Friday night while first responders made efforts to find Moehlman, whom they thought may have been ejected from the vehicle. In actuality, he had fled the scene, authorities said.

The sheriff’s office responded to Seminary Road to investigate. Efforts to clean up debris and locate Moehlman closed Seminary between Perrin and McIntyre roads until 12:16 a.m. Saturday.

The sheriff’s office said Milan Township firefighters responded to the accident first and then told law enforcement officers they couldn’t find the vehicle’s driver — either in the vehicle or in the immediate vicinity. There is a small creek near the accident scene and deputies were unsure if the driver could have been ejected or might have been injured and left the vehicle, wandering the area.

Deputies and firefighters canvased the area and attempted to get in touch with Moehlman’s immediate family, but to no avail. 

When the search ended for the night, he still hadn’t been found.

The sheriff’s office said it eventually made contact with Moehlman’s family the next day and were then able to speak to Moehlman, who had sustained only minor injuries. At first, the man denied being the driver, deputies said.

However, upon further questioning, he “eventually admitted that he was the driver and admitted to fleeing the scene,” deputies said.

It’s unknown why he fled the scene.

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