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Published: Thursday, 11/25/2004

3 killed in 2 traffic accidents

Three people were killed in two traffic accidents Tuesday, the Ohio Highway Patrol reported yesterday.

A crash at a Sandusky County intersection killed two elderly West Virginia residents, troopers at the patrol's Fremont post said. Mandy Smith, 76, and Naomi Maurer, 81, both of Huntington, died of injuries from the accident, which occurred at 6:15 p.m. at U.S. 20 and U.S. 23.

Troopers said Ms. Smith was stopped on northbound U.S. 23, waiting to turn left on U.S. 20, when she pulled into the path of an eastbound semi driven by Steven Middleton, 52, of St. Thomas, Ont. The semi struck Ms. Smith's car in the passenger side, fatally injuring Ms. Smith and Ms. Maurer, a passenger in the car. Mr. Middleton was not injured.

In the other crash, an 88-year-old Ottawa County man was killed in a collision at a Benton Township intersection, according to the patrol's Sandusky post.

Donald W. Epling of Graytown was taken by helicopter from the scene of the 4:05 p.m. crash to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, where he died.

Troopers said Mr. Epling was westbound on Toussaint North Road and failed to yield the right of way at a stop sign at Graytown Road. His car was struck by a southbound pickup dirven by Jennifer Helle, 33, of Graytown.

According to the highway patrol, Mr. Epling's vehicle traveled off the southwest corner of the intersection, struck and severed a utility pole, and slid into a ditch. Ms. Helle's pickup traveled off the same corner and struck a junction box and sideswiped a utility pole.

Ms. Helle and her son, Derek Bennei, 11, were treated in Bay Park Hospital in Oregon for minor injuries.



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