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Two hurt after motorcycle hits deer

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:54 PM

Wendy Russell and Howard Wilde, an engaged Norwalk couple, were injured when their motorcycle hit a deer in Lorain County Tuesday evening and are in stable condition at Cleveland Metro Hospital.

Russell, 48, was lifeflighted to Cleveland Metro to be treated for broken ribs, a broken clavicle and a skull fracture. Wilde, 51, suffered broken ribs, a broken collarbone, broken bones in his face and a punctured lung and was taken to Allen Memorial Hospital in Oberlin. He was later transferred to Cleveland Metro. The hospital reported that both Russell and Wilde are in stable condition.

Russell's brother-in-law Tim Fitzgerald, of Norwalk, said both Russell and Wilde should be released from the hospital soon.

The couple struck a deer that ran into the road about 8:30 p.m. as they were traveling west on Ohio 113. Riding a 2003 Harley motorcycle, neither were wearing helmets.

In a terrible twist of fate, a volunteer firefighter was also injured while directing traffic at the accident site. A vehicle driven by 88-year-old Donald Bechtal, of Birmingham, struck Amherst resident Patrick Finnegan, who is a volunteer for the Florence Township Fire Department.

Finnegan was lifeflighted to Cleveland in the same helicopter as Russell. He is also in stable condition.

The fire fighter was directing traffic at the intersection of Ohio 113 and Gore Orphanage Road so the life-flight helicopter could land when he was hit.

"People don't always realize they need to slow down," said Lt. Glenn Peterson of the Elyria post of the Ohio Highway Patrol. "We don't turn on our lights for nothing. The best idea is to slow down."

He said the report for the second accident wasn't available yet, but it will be turned over to the Lorain County Prosecutor for possible charges.

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