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Coroner: Greenwich girl, 3, died instantly in farming accident

Cary Ashby • Updated Apr 20, 2016 at 11:07 PM

GREENWICH — A 3 1/2-year-old Mennonite girl died instantly during a farming accident Monday on her family farm just outside of Greenwich.

Bethann Z. Zimmerman was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident at 1303 U.S. 224.

“She died of massive head injuries,” Huron County Coroner Dr. Jeffrey Harwood said. “It would be an accidental death.”

Zimmerman and her 2-year-old sister were in the bucket of a Bobcat skid steer operated by their father when Zimmerman fell backward and got caught in the wheels of the vehicle, the coroner said. 

“Mennonites don’t use rubber tires; they use steel wheels,” Harwood added.

The Huron County Sheriff’s Office received a 9-1-1 call from the victim’s mother about 10:30 a.m. Detective Sgt. Josh Querin said the mother reported her daughter was involved in a farming accident and wasn’t breathing.

Deputies, detectives, North Central EMS and the Tri-Community Joint Fire District responded to the scene.

“Upon arrival, North Central EMS advised the 3-year-old was in fact deceased,” Querin said. “Yeah, she was supervised.”

Harwood confirmed the victim was dead upon arrival.

“As with any death involving a young child, we completed a thorough investigation. That is pretty much completed,” Querin said.

The results have been forwarded to the Huron County Prosecutor’s Office. Querin said on Tuesday the sheriff’s office had direct contact with the prosecutor’s office, which requested a detailed report for review and to determine if any charges are merited. The detective declined to elaborate.

Authorities contacted the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which processed the scene for a couple hours.

Fire Chief David Seidel declined to be interviewed Tuesday and referred questions to the sheriff’s office.

Querin said Monday was a tough day for the responding deputies and detectives.

“Our thoughts and prayers go to the family in such a tragic accident,” he added. “They have a lot of support down there (from) family members.”

Zimmerman was born Aug. 4, 2012 at her home in Greenwich. She is the daughter of Lamar Z. and Amanda N. (Zimmerman) Zimmerman. According to her obituary, the victim and her family attended Bloomingrove Mennonite Church in Shiloh.

In addition to her parents, Bethann Zimmerman is survived by: her sister Julie; her brother, Glendon; her maternal and paternal grandparents; great-grandparents; numerous aunt and uncles; and 12 cousins. She was preceded in death by her great-grandparents, Phares Newswanger and Edwin and Annie Zimmerman. 

Family and friends are welcome at the family home from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday. The complete obituary is on page A-5.

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