BELLEVUE A Gahanna teenager died Tuesday afternoon after being partially ejected from a minivan on Ohio 4 north of Ohio 547.
Brain Kerns, 16, was a passenger who was not wearing his seat belt when the driver Jarrod McMillan, 19, of Gahanna, went off the west side of the road while heading south, troopers with the state Highway Patrol's Norwalk post said. After the 2001 Honda Odyssey hit a culvert, the van overturned several times.
Huron County Coroner Dr. Jeffrey Harwood pronounced Kerns dead at the scene of head injuries. When the van rolled over, it threw the victim partially out of the vehicle and pinned his right arm, the coroner said.
"It's reasonable to say if he had been restrained, he would have stayed in the vehicle," said Harwood, who called seatbelt usage a key factor in the crash.
North Central EMS transported McMillan and his four other passengers, Holly Kerns, 21, of Gahanna; Nakita Daffin, 16, of Johnstown; Matthew Kerns, 18, of Gahanna; and Sangeeta Cargile, 16, of Columbus; to The Bellevue Hospital with minor injuries. Hospital spokesman Dennis Sabo said none of the patients were listed in the database this morning.
Troopers said Holly Kerns was wearing her seatbelt, but the rest of the passengers were not.
Brian Kerns' death is the second fatality in two days in Huron County. Troopers have determined four of the six people who died in this year's six fatal crashes were not wearing their seat belts.
"The statistics here show how important it is," Sgt. Mary Mack said.
Drugs and alcohol are not suspected of being factors, she said, but troopers took a blood test from McMillan, who was wearing his seatbelt. Test results are pending.
"That's normal whether we suspect (drugs or alcohol) or not," Mack said. "(The) driver stated his speed was 54."
It was raining when the Lyme Township crash happened before 5 p.m. in a 55-mph zone. Huron County sheriff's dispatchers reported receiving multiple 9-1-1 calls about the crash, starting at 4:55 p.m.
The Bellevue Fire Department requested the Huron River Joint Fire District be on standby.
The crash remains under investigation.
Richard Bell, 63, of Englewood, Colo., died Monday afternoon from serious head injuries after the small motorcycle trailer he was towing hit him after a deer crash on U.S. 20. His 2005 Harley Davidson bike, after hitting the deer, went off the north side of the road and hit a ditch. Bell, who was ejected from the bike, was not wearing a helmet.