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Published: Tuesday, 6/3/2008

Henry County man arraigned after accident, search of river

NAPOLEON - A Napoleon man was arraigned yesterday on a charge of inducing panic and numerous traffic counts after he fled from the scene of an auto accident in Henry County's Flatrock Township, resulting in a two-hour search of the Maumee River.

Alexander Salaz, 18, was held last night in the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio, Stryker, in lieu of $2,000 bond following his appearance in Napoleon Municipal Court.

Along with inducing panic, a first-degree misdemeanor, Mr. Salaz also was charged with underage alcohol use, operating a motor vehicle without a license, failure to stop after a traffic accident, and failure to control a vehicle.

Sheriff's deputies responding to a single-vehicle crash at County Roads L and Z at 10:40 p.m. found the auto abandoned near a tree and a guardrail it had struck after going off the north side of Road Z, according to the report.

A short time later, firefighters advised deputies that the driver had been seen swimming in the Maumee, whose south bank follows Road Z.

Because firefighters lost sight of the swimmer, a search ensued, including the use of a helicopter.

About 3 a.m. yesterday, Mr. Salaz's father called authorities and reported that his son had returned to his Chester Street home. Sheriff's deputies went to the house and arrested the 18-year-old.

The deputies reported that his breath smelled of alcohol at that time.

"I wrecked the car, got scared, and swam across the river," Mr. Salaz told deputies, according to the report.

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