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Published: Wednesday, 10/4/2006

Runners help local teenager race to recovery after crash

BY JIM SIELICKI
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Beale Beale
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Area runners are being given an opportunity Saturday to stretch their legs for a good cause by helping a Toledo teenager who was paralyzed when the car in which she was riding crashed into a ditch in Whiteford Township.

The June 15 crash at the intersection of Clegg Road and Whiteford Center Road in Monroe County killed one of the backseat passengers and injured the other four occupants on June 15.

Stevie L. Beale, 17, suffered broken vertebrae and spent weeks in recovery before she was allowed to return home, shortly before the start of school.

"It is going to be a long road but we are praying and everything we do every day is an effort to get her through her senior year and get her standing and walking again," said her mother, Sheryl Beale.

Mrs. Beale said she and her husband, Alfie Beale, do not want Stevie talking with the press because they are trying to keep their daughter's mind off the accident and instead focused on her recovery.

Anita and Steve Martin, friends of Stevie's family, are organizing a 3-mile race, the Super Stevie Run, this weekend at the YMCA on Dean Road in Bedford Township. Nonrunners will be given the chance to walk the course, which begins at the Y and ends at the adjacent Bedford High School soccer field.

The race begins at 8:30 a.m.

The goal is to raise money to help Stevie purchase a $15,000 piece of equipment designed to strengthen her legs, improve circulation, and restore muscle tone, Mrs. Martin said.

Mrs. Martin said she runs in her share of races, but this is the first time she's organized one.

"Wow, I'm overwhelmed," she said.

About 200 registrations have been received, and 350 T-shirts have been printed in exchange for the $20 entry fee.

"I think 80 percent are girls, so it's going to be fun. Many of them are from Whitmer [High School in Toledo]."

Stevie, who attends Whitmer High School, lives in Bedford Township with her parents. She chose to remain at Whitmer for her senior year after her family moved to Michigan, Mrs. Martin said.

Stevie also was active at the Bedford Y, working with children in the gymnastics program.

Earlier fund-raisers for Stevie have included a car wash and a golf outing. An account has been set up at Education Plus Credit Union, 3558 Sterns Rd., Lambertville.

"Our neighbors and friends have been really caring. All the support has been a lifesaver to us," said Stevie's mother, Mrs. Beale. "With her rehab she is working hard and she is working hard to stay in school. She still has health issues which are a challenge."

Additional information is available by calling the Martins at 734-856-5554, or e-mailing them at anitaruns@buckeye-express.com.

The accident took the life of Charlie L. Fackelman, 17, who would have been a senior at Whitmer and was a pitcher for the Panthers' varsity team. He was pronounced dead at Toledo Hospital about four hours after the crash.

The driver of the car, Austin Oberle, and passengers Carl L. Ziegler and Ashley K. Roth, all 17, were treated at Toledo Hospital.

All of them were wearing seatbelts and police said alcohol was not a factor.

Young Oberle, who was treated at Toledo Hospital, failed to stop for a stop sign and the car slid through the intersection into a ditch, hitting a tree off the west side of Whiteford Center Road, according to Deputy Tim George of the Monroe County Sheriff's traffic and safety department.

The teenagers were being chased by another car over a thrown water bottle when the accident occurred, said Deputy George, according to statements from teens in the vehicle.

The Monroe County Prosecutor's office still is reviewing the case.

Contact Jim Sielicki at:

jsielicki@theblade.com

or 419-724-6078.



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