Wakeman resident Kassandra Smith didn’t think she had much of a choice; she said she felt like she had to jump from the back of the speeding pickup truck.
“He was driving recklessly and I was terrified,” she said. “That was after he hit the telephone pole.”
The 23-year-old woman was referring to a Nov. 3 incident on Washington Road.
When Smith jumped out of the truck driven by Nic Salyer, she said she got snagged on the vehicle somehow and witnesses in a vehicle following Salyer said she got dragged on the road before she hit the pavement.
Smith ended up in Fisher-Titus Medical Center for three days. She sustained open wounds, bruises and abrasions to her face, chest, legs, buttocks, back, head and arms.
“She had a pretty bad concussion,” said Smith’s sister, Tiffany Vroman, who estimated her sister suffered injuries over 40 percent of her body.
“I’m still picking scabs off my chest,” said Smith, who randomly gets enough blood in her mouth that she can taste it.
“As soon as I open my mouth, it will dribble a little,” she added.
The Huron County Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident and forwarded it to the Norwalk Law Director’s Office for the consideration of charges. Assistant law director Scott Christophel said as of last week, no charges had been filed, but he had spoken with deputies about the case.
Smith doesn’t remember anything from the time she hit the road to the time she regained consciousness in the hospital. Her friends in the vehicle that was following Salyer took her to Fisher-Titus.
“I woke up with them cutting off my clothes,” Smith said about regaining consciousness in the hospital.
Smith recalled a male deputy talked to her at the hospital and took three pictures of her face and arms — three days after she jumped from the truck.
“I filled out a statement for him,” she said.
Hayley Craft was one of the people in the vehicle that took Smith to Fisher-Titus. The 19-year-old Huntington, W.Va. woman who was visiting family and friends in Norwalk said she held Smith’s hand as she had the beginning of a couple seizures.
The Norwalk Police Department and sheriff’s deputies interviewed witnesses. Craft said police started doing the interviews, but when officers realized the crash and Smith’s injuries happened outside of Norwalk, they handed the case to the sheriff’s office.
Salyer, the driver, originally was charged with felonious assault. It’s unclear why the second-degree felony later was dismissed.
Witnesses said Deputy Steve Mancuso — who went to school with Salyer’s older brother — arrested the suspect at his father’s Cable Road, Wakeman, home.
He went to school with Chad Salyer. He’s known the family for 20 years,” Smith said about the deputy.
Nic Salyer was released from the Huron County Jail after a short time, estimated to be eight hours, behind bars.
“He got out the next day at 3 p.m.,” Craft said.
Huron County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Ted Patrick said Mancuso was the deputy who arrested Salyer and booked him into the jail.
Salyer was later released from jail by the order of the law director after witnesses’ stories began to change, Patrick added.
Patrick said the case currently is in the hands of the Norwalk law director’s office.
How it started
The circumstances started about 4:30 a.m. Nov. 3 when Smith, Craft and several other people started looking for Salyer and his best friend, Ricky Smith, Craft’s boyfriend. Craft and Kassandra Smith said the pair had been out drinking and their friends were concerned they had been pulled over and the pair hadn’t called anybody.
The two men were found passed out in a truck in an alley near Rupp’s Bar. Salyer was in the driver’s seat while his best friend, Smith’s brother, was in the passenger seat.
Smith said the group attempted to wake up her brother so he could come home.
At one point, Salyer started the truck. Smith’s brother, who had gotten into the vehicle with his sister and girlfriend for a short time, “decided to jump out of a running vehicle,” but later got back into Salyer’s truck, Smith’s sister said. She then attempted to follow the truck on foot.
“I lost them for a second,” she said. “He (and Salyer) were very intoxicated. I don’t know what was going on in (my brother’s) mind.”
Smith recalled “all of the sudden” she got hit on her right arm as the truck passed her.
“I was holding on. (Salyer) was going fast,” she said, so she hopped into the bed of the pickup. “I remember going through Norwalk, blowing red lights and all that good stuff.”
Smith and Craft said while Smith was in the back of the truck, it appeared Salyer began to intentionally “fish-tail.”
“He wasn’t weaving. It was more like fish-tailing,” Smith added. “He was very intoxicated.
“I was scared. … I was flying everywhere,” Smith said. “I found a boat anchor. I did shatter his back window.”
Craft, who was in the vehicle following the truck, estimated Salyer was going 50 to 60 mph and “completely swerved … to get her out of the truck.”
Salyer continued to accelerate, ignored Smith as she tried to get the attention of the driver and her brother and the truck spun about three times before hitting a utility pole on Washington Road, the women said.
She (Smith) was still in the back of the truck,” said Craft, who helped look for Smith in and around the crashed truck while Salyer remained in his vehicle. “We couldn’t find her because she was balled up.”
Smith’s brother got out of the truck and entered the other vehicle. Craft said Salyer backed up, sped off and later down the road, she saw Smith’s head “pop up” out of the bed of the truck before she decided to stand up and jump out.
“She wasn’t moving when she hit the pavement. Her head was rolled back,” Craft said.
Smith, who wants to see some justice out of this incident, said she has been to and/or called the sheriff’s office multiple times to get updates on the case. However, even when she arrives at shift change, she said she’s been told Mancuso is unavailable to talk to her.
“I call during shift change. … I call all the time,” Smith said. “I haven’t heard anything.”