Norwalk biker in critical condition after collision with pickup truck

Motorcyclist in crash was not wearing helmet.
Cary Ashby
Apr 8, 2013


A motorcyclist who wasn't wearing his helmet was hospitalized with serious injuries after a two-vehicle collision Sunday.

Thomas Stewart, 59, of 15B Olde Village Road, was listed in critical condition Monday in the intensive care unit of Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said. A LifeFlight helicopter transported him to the Toledo trauma center after the collision at 4:56 p.m. Sunday on Ohio 61 near Wells Road in Norwalk Township.

Thomas was southwest on Ohio 61 before the crash. Troopers with the state Highway Patrol reported John Dendenger, 37, of 1292 E. Ohio 61, was traveling the opposite direction when he turned left into a private driveway and turned into Thomas' path.

The 2007 Shadow bike driven by Thomas overturned onto its left side. Troopers said the driver, who wasn't wearing his helmet, was ejected.

The bike was towed from the scene with functional damage to the center front. The 2004 Ford Ranger pickup truck driven by Dendenger had functional damage to the left rear, but didn't get towed.

The Norwalk Fire Department responded to the crash site at 5:01 p.m.

Firefighters, who were on scene almost 45 minutes, said they provided basic life support, transferred patient care to North Central EMS upon their arrival and secured a landing zone for LifeFlight. The crew controlled traffic until troopers secured the scene.

Dendenger was charged with failure to yield the right-of-way while turning left.


Kottage Kat

Praying for you Tom


Sending prayers




So bad driving yet comments about not wearing a helmet. Dumb.


Best of Luck to you, Thomas. Ride on.


Prayers to this man & his family. The people at St. Vincent's are wonderful but can only do so much. I feel for the family & hope for a good outcome.


prayers to the family. (Thanx for not posting ignorant,insensitive comments concerning no helmet)


Give it time.


Well not trying to be insensitive , but you have to admit even though tragic ,he might have come out of this a bit better had he had one on. Its and sensless when this stuff happens. It was probably the first time he might have been out on the bike this year and gets cut off by someone not paying attention. Hope he comes out of it ok....


Sending prayers to Tom (Head Cat) and the Stewart family.


So was Dendinger wearing his seatbelt? Just curious because that's mandatory by law but they never said. I just thought hat was an important fact that was left out since they singled out the biker that is not required by law to wear a helmet. Maybe if people paid more attention stupid accidents like this wouldn't happen. Hope he recovers.

swiss family

I pray for the best outcome to this terrible accident.. I hope he recovers fully and quickly.

I do think that it is time to do something about all of the accidents involving motorcycles, with cars. I think we have all seen the "blue tinted" high intensity headlights that are on certain cars... those headlights do catch you attention... I wonder why they could not ONLY use those type of headlights on motorcycles, and NOT on any cars.. that way when you see that color headlight, it will immediately let you know that it is a motorcycle approaching, and not confuse it for a car with a possibly burned out headlight far off in the distance coming towards you... It just might save lives if that were the law.. in my opinion..


Thank you for all the prayers. Even though he was not wearing a helmet, most of his injuries are bodily due to laying the bike down so he would not hit the truck head on. He still has a long way to go.

Kottage Kat

Prayers continue
Thank u 4 the update


Jen Jackson

Sending many prayers for a fast recovery! And yes they do make those headlights for motorcycles, unfortunately they are very expensive. The simple fact is, if you're not paying attention and you don't see the motorcycle, lights probably won't make much difference. Prayers to the family and strength to get through this difficult time.

swiss family

the simple fact is if ONLY motorcycles are allowed to have them, and they com "stock" with those headlights.. it will take away any doubt that it is a motorcycle approaching you,because usually with motorcycles , and cars, there is a depth perception issue that plays into it.. if you do see one headlight coming at you now, it might seem to p[lay out in your mind, that it is a car, in the distance with one headlight burned out, which makes it seem farther away that it actually is... but if ONLY Motorcycles had them, and that means ALL motorcycles HAD to have them and they were NOT available for cars, your mind would instantly tell you that it is a motorcycle, and for most normal thinking people, they are courtious enough to be extra careful when they know for a fact that a motorcycle is approaching


Those headlights cause a lot of glare and practically blind you when it's dark out even on low beams.

swiss family

which makes you take notice of them.... and you are fully aware of them... Right?? well isn't that the goal OF ALL motorcycle riders... and all car drivers>?? isn't our main goal here to try to positively identify motorcycles and to make sure we see them???


Swiss, I ride and will TELL YOU those lights will not solve the problem.
The problem is people are not paying attention to what is around them while driving.
I have been sliding across the asphalt due to someone who NEVER even looked my way before pulling out in front of me. I can not even count all the times drivers have literally looked right through me and other motorcycle riders, then pull out in front of or turn across in front of the bike.
I know the lights seem like a good idea till you do some study. In WWII sub patrol planes used lights spread on the leading edge of their wings, engines and fuselauge that where adjustable in intensity so lookouts wouldn't see them as soon. It worked to the point that planes with that system sank many times more UBoats.
In many conditions on the road cars today with lights on disappear in the glare from the sun and cars driving behind motorcycles (both having their lights on) will have the bike disappear to oncoming traffic in the lights.

swiss family

you may be right.... but then again I know I certainly notice when I see the "bright , blue tinted lights" approaching on a car.. I also know that I have also almost pulled out in front of a motorcycle, because ,with only one headlight coming at you, in the daylight, and even at night, it creates a depth perception obstacle , you might for a second think it is a car headlight, if you even notice it at all, and think that it is much further away than it actually is.

I know , just for myself, I do all that is possible to stay away from motorcyclists...I do not want to be in front of or behind them, or anywhere close to them... because they are unpredictable... I know that Motorcyclists feel that car drivers are unpredictable too, and both are correct... Bikes sometimes do not follow the letter of the law, and pass you in your same lane, because they can fit.. or they will pass you on the berm of the road too, because they can... but it is dangerous and illegal...I applaud anyone who rides.. you have every right to feel the freedom that you enjoy, but sometimes you get carried away and pull some unexpected and illegal move which could harm you or kill you, and I do not want to be near you if and when you do it.. I realize that this is the same reason that you bikers fear cars as well.. sometimes they pull crazy stunts and put lives in danger and mistakenly pull out in front of you too..

I think that to just say that the "lights" will not work, without anyone trying, or testing it, is self defeating... I do NOT think that the lights will STOP all motorcycle and car accidents, but if it could stop one tragedy, it would be worth trying....after all isn't everyone's safety the goal here??


Thank you for all kind words and support. We continue to stay positive and pray for a full recovery. Dad is loved by so many. Thank you, his family


I fight with myself every time I ride. To wear a helmet or not to wear a helmet? Sometimes I'm paranoid enough that I do. A helmet has already saved my skin once, but it is such a great experience riding without one. Imagine riding in a convertible sports car and wearing a helmet. It's just not the same. I'm glad, however, that Ohio gives us a choice.


Betrump, you have posted something I agree with for a change


I hate to tell people what to do but I can offer my advice. If you have a family that you care about please wear a helmet. I lost my dad in August due to a motorcycle accident. He didn't have many major injuries and was starting to heal. But he hit his head too hard and now he's gone. Forever. I do not believe there should be a law to require you to wear one, it should be your choice. My dad had a choice and I would never take that away from him. Unfortunately that choice took him away from us. I miss him every single day. I'm not saying a helmet would've saved his life but it could've. We'll never know. There's my input...from a girl who lost her dad way too soon. Do with it what you want...I hope it makes you think twice next time you ride. God bless.


I'm so sorry for your loss. I've ridden for over 35 years and have fought states and insurance companies for my right to choose to wear a helmet. I've been in several minor accidents as well as 1 major that tore my lower right leg off down to the bone, even with jeans,boots and chaps. And I've buried alot of brothers due to bike wrecks. Contrary to popular belief helmets are not all they're cracked up to be. They can cause head injuries and injuries to the spine and vertebra that can be just as traumatic and life threatening as riding without. Proven fact- check Consumer Reports. Being aware of the facts and debating the pros and cons is all a part of making a conscientious decision when riding. Me personally, I will always ride helmetless. Oh don't forget the ones who wear a helmet and a pair of shorts and no shirt in the summer- they obviously have never heard the screams of someone with major road rash being scrubbed of the gravel in their body.


No safety device is 100%...I understand that. People also die from wearing seat belts yet I'm still required to wear one by law.


Let's face it. Bikes are great time. One has the feeling of freedom and being in nature with the ability to go fast. One feels the thunder under their butt and that even makes it more enjoyable (especially for the ladies). But, let's face it...bikes don't come with doors, windows, crumple zones, shoulder/seat belts, nor roll bars. If YOU ride a bike, YOU are the one who has to be doubly and triply aware of all things around you.

One has to pay attention or their life for that "freedom to ride" feeling.

swiss cheese kat's picture
swiss cheese kat

Once again the writer reminds us all why he will never be more than a small time journalist at a small town paper.


If a biker wants to ride helmet-less go for it, its not a law. By I do have to laugh at a previous post about what Consumer Reports states as a proven fact. C'mon Consumer Reports?