28 injured on hay ride in Erie County

Tractor operator has been charged with drunk driving

Michael L. Hermes
Michael L. Hermes

SANDUSKY — A tractor operator has been charged with drunk driving after a hay ride overturned in Erie County’s Perkins Township Saturday night, injuring at least 28 people.

Michael L. Hermes, 47, of Sandusky, was taken to the Erie County Jail after the hay ride he was driving veered off the side of the road and one of two straw-filled trailers tipped over.

The incident happened around on Patten Tract Road, one mile south of Bogart Rd.

The trailers were carrying between 30 and 40 passengers, many of whom were ejected and injured, police reported

Fire and rescue crews from at least four communities responded to the incident. Sirens could be heard converging on the scene from all directions.

The injured passengers were transported by ambulance to Firelands Hospital in Sandusky, Bellevue Hospital in Bellevue and to Fisher Titus Hospital in Norwalk. Two of the injured passengers, Ruben Cruz Jr and Raynoldo Cruz both from Castalia, Ohio, were Life Flighted from Bellevue Hospital to Mercy St. Vincent’s Hospital in Toledo, Ohio.

Mr. Hermes was not injured in the crash. He refused to take field sobriety tests and was arrested by State Troopers. He again refused an alcohol breath test at the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Sandusky Post and a warrant was issued to draw his blood for alcohol test results. The blood was sent to the patrol’s crime lab for analysis. Mr. Hermes was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, among other charges, and was incarcerated at the Erie County Jail.

He is scheduled to appear in Sandusky Municipal Court on Tuesday,.

The farm tractor and the straw trailers sustained minor damage and were driven home by a family friend of Mr. Hermes.

Ohio State Highway Patrol is still investigating the accident.