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Published: Monday, 1/16/2006

Vehicle kills Perrysburg doctor riding his bicycle

BY TAD VEZNER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Two doctors and a pharmacist, all avid bicyclists and longtime friends, were biking along River Road in Perrysburg Township yesterday when they were hit by a vehicle, killing one and putting another in the hospital.

Dr. Stephen Snedden, 47, of 30016 St. Andrews Rd., Perrysburg was pronounced dead at the scene. Dr. Snedden was a pediatrician who specialized in critical care and pulmonology at Toledo Children s Hospital. His bedside manner at Toledo Children s Hospital earned him the respect of colleagues.

Also bicycling were pharmacist George Haig, who is in fair condition at Toledo Hospital, and Dr. Mike Blake, who was not hurt.

Several cyclists and joggers have been killed or hurt locally by vehicles in the last week.

Timothy Kruger, hit Jan. 8 while bicycling on Berdan Avenue, was in serious condition at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center last night. Wednesday, Bowling Green lawyer Jodie Stearns died after being hit by a vehicle while jogging near her home in Bloomdale, Ohio. Friday, a man walking his bike along South Byrne Road was hit by a car.

The three cyclists were riding north on the right side of River Road, between Five Point and Roachton roads, at 1:15 p.m. when they were hit by Dave O Niell, 61, of 4024 McGregor Lane, Toledo, who was driving north in a Jeep Liberty, authorities said. Mr. O Niell allegedly fled but was followed down River Road by another driver and later pulled over near the corner of State Rt. 25 in Perrysburg.

The Ohio Highway Patrol said Mr. O Niell was checked in at St. Luke s Hospital for a possible medical condition because paramedics thought he was acting strangely. Hospital officials said Mr. O Niell was treated and released. No charges have been filed while the incident is investigated, troopers said.

Dr. Pierre Vauthy, who trained Dr. Snedden during his fellowship 15 years ago, said Dr. Snedden stood out because of his demeanor and honest way of relating to kids.

He had no airs about him, absolutely no pretensions that he was better than anyone else, which is a rarity in medicine today, Dr. Vauthy said. He was a very special man. He will be sorely missed by us all.

Dr. Snedden was married and had three daughters. He graduated from the Ohio State University College of Medicine and practiced as a pediatrician in Sandusky before joining Toledo Children s Hospital, Dr. Vauthy said.

He said Dr. Snedden s specialty was rarer than hen s teeth these days, and it is difficult to lure such doctors to the area.

He loved kids, loved life, and loved biking, he added, noting that Dr. Snedden biked about 40 miles a week and often went on rides of 400 to 500 miles with his wife and Dr. Blake.

Mr. Haig is a pharmacist in Ann Arbor, and Dr. Blake is an anesthesiologist in Columbus.

Contact Tad Vezner at: tvezner@theblade.com or 419-724-6065.



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