Troopers seek help in ID'ing hit-skip driver

Cary Ashby • Dec 15, 2012 at 6:13 AM

The state Highway Patrol's Norwalk post is seeking the public's assistance in identifying the male suspect who was driving a stolen truck in a hit-skip crash.

The collision between the unknown driver and Paul D. Hicks, 37, of 4258 Broad St., Willard, happened at 12:02 a.m. Nov. 7 at the intersection of Ohio 547 and Heyman Road. The unidentified male motorist was driving a white 2001 Ford truck with a cargo-type body and six tires.

Troopers suspect the Ford truck, which was left at the scene, was stolen.

Sgt. Brian Gockstetter, upon inspecting the truck, noticed someone had popped the ignition column and there were no keys in it, troopers said. The window on the driver's side window was shattered.

Before the crash, Hicks was westbound on Ohio 547 and the truck was northbound on Heyman Road. Hicks told troopers the other driver "blew through the stop sign."

The truck hit the left rear of the 2003 Cadillac Escalade. Both vehicles then went off the road and into a ditch.

North Central EMS responded to the crash site. Troopers said Hicks sustained a light scratch to his right hand.

The suspect fled the scene, troopers said.

Patrol dispatchers contacted the truck owner, Nicholas Laibe, of Republic. He told troopers the vehicle had been stolen from Republic and reported it to the Seneca County Sheriff's Office.

Laibe further reported a skid loader basket and several boxes of tools were missing. Authorities advised the Huron County Sheriff's Office about the missing items.

Dendinger Bros. Car Care Center towed the truck to Seneca County, where sheriff's detectives could process it. The vehicle had functional damage to the left front.

Wilcox Garage towed the Escalade driven by Hicks from the scene with disabling damage to the left rear.

Anyone who has information about the identity of the truck driver is encouraged to call Trooper Evan Stevens or Sgt. Brian Gockstetter at (419) 668-3711.

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