A Greenwich man was pronounced dead at the scene of a two-vehicle accident Monday morning at the intersection of Ohio 18 and Greenwich Milan Townline Road/Ohio 601.
Earl R. Hartley, 76, died after the 1998 Ford Econoline van driven by Mark A. Stockmaster, of Norwalk, made "full impact" with the driver's side of the 1991 Buick Park Avenue carrying Hartley and his wife, said Lt. Jim Bryan of the state Highway Patrol. The Norwalk post commander said charges probably will not be filed because Hartley was at fault.
Hartley was heading north on Greenwich Milan Townline Road about 8:45 a.m. when he stopped at the Ohio 18 stop sign and then entered the intersection in the path of Stockmaster's eastbound van, causing the collision, troopers said.
The impact sent both vehicles off the northeast corner of the intersection, where Hartley's car hit a chain-link fence. Drugs and alcohol aren't considered factors.
A medical helicopter flew Hartley's wife, Mary, 75, to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center in Toledo with serious injuries. She was listed in serious condition this morning in the intensive care unit, a hospital spokeswoman said.
All three people were wearing their seat belts. Stockmaster was not injured, but North Central EMS transported him to Fisher-Titus Medical Center "to be checked," troopers said.
Three Norwalk firefighters established a landing zone for the medical helicopter after responding at 8:55 a.m. They also assisted North Central EMS with removing the victims from the vehicles and with initial patient packaging.
The Hartleys' nephew said the couple were heading from home to a Sandusky chiropractor, "a trip they make regularly," Bryan said.
In the last several years, there has been an "increased amount of traffic" at the intersection of Ohio 18 and Greenwich Milan Townline Road, where Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park (formerly called Norwalk Raceway Park) is located, Bryan said. He added troopers expect to see traffic volume continue there to grow. The patrol has had discussions with officials from the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Huron County Engineer's Office about engineering upgrades in the area.
"(We are) trying to address it before it gets out of hand," Bryan said.
As a result of those discussions, the intersection of Greenwich Milan Townline and Zenobia roads now features a four-way stop and rumble strips. There also are rumble strips on Ohio 601 approaching the U.S. 20 intersection.
Bryan noted that those modifications weren't there about a year ago. The post commander also said troopers focused on failure to yield violations, excessive speed and seat belt violations during a 2005 enforcement blitz on Ohio 18.
Hartley's death is the first fatality on Ohio 18 in Huron County since November 2005. It is the county's seventh fatality this year.