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Published: Wednesday, 6/20/2001

Arlington skaters hit by car

BY STEVE MURPHY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

ARLINGTON, Ohio - Two weeks ago, Christina Margraf and Lynne Musgrave celebrated their graduation with 60 classmates at Arlington High School.

But the two friends, who looked forward to a summer of fun, are in the hospital after being hit by a car while in-line skating on a country road Monday night in Hancock County.

Ms. Musgrave, 18, was in serious condition yesterday in the intensive- care unit at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center. Ms. Margraf, 18, was in fair condition at the same Toledo hospital.

“Everyone is pretty shocked,” said Katie Kostyo, a friend and classmate of the two young women. “Everyone is pretty close here. We're all close.”

The accident occurred shortly before 10 p.m. on Hancock County Road 24, three-tenths of a mile west of U.S. 68.

Ms. Margraf and Ms. Musgrave were skating east on the south side of the road when they were hit from behind by an eastbound car driven by Donald Walters, 47, of Arlington, the Hancock County sheriff's office said.

Mr. Walters called the sheriff's office on a cellular phone to report the crash at 10:01 a.m., Deputy Todd Bucher said. Mr. Walters told the sheriff's office he did not see the skaters until right before he hit them.

The investigation is continuing, and no citations have been issued, Deputy Bucher said. Mr. Walters could not be reached for comment.

Neither woman was wearing a safety helmet or other protective gear, Deputy Bucher said.

The road where the accident occurred has no center line, edge markings, or paved shoulder. It has gravel berms about 6 inches wide on each side. It is frequently used by joggers and other pedestrians, Deputy Bucher said.

“It is close to the village limits, and I have seen a lot of people on bikes, walking, using Rollerblades,'' he said. “I would feel it's about as safe as any other road. ... Obviously, it's safer to be on a sidewalk, and this road did not have any sidewalk.”

Ms. Margraf's father, Richard Margraf, said his daughter enjoyed skating several times a week with Ms. Musgrave and other friends.

He said he didn't believe the activity was dangerous.

“It wouldn't have made any difference if they were on the road biking or walking or on Rollerblades,” he said. “It just happened to be Rollerblading.”

Mr. Margraf said his daughter was wearing white shorts and a striped top that should have made her easy to see.

She doesn't remember the accident, which left her with “a lot of scratches,” Mr. Margraf said. “She had some stitches. Some bruises.”

The extent of Ms. Musgrave's injuries was unclear. Her mother declined to discuss the accident.

Lee Anderson, principal of Arlington High School, said the two graduates are well-liked by their classmates.

“They were both excellent students and both excellent kids, and we certainly hope the best for them, because we don't like to see these kinds of things,” he said. “I'm sure it was very much a shock to the people in the class and in the community. It's a very close, very tight-knit community.”

Ms. Kostyo, the president of Arlington High's class of 2001, arranged with Mr. Anderson yesterday to send flowers to Ms. Margraf and Ms. Musgrave.

“I think they'll be OK,'' she said.

Ms. Margraf plans to enroll this fall at the University of Findlay and study business, her father said. Ms. Musgrave played on Arlington's volleyball team, and was a member of the school band, the yearbook staff, and the National Honor Society.



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