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Published: Monday, 5/22/2006

Girl, 14, killed in wreck of church van


COLUMBUS GROVE, Ohio - A 14-year-old girl was killed and 11 other people were injured when a car struck a church van filled with youngsters in southern Putnam County yesterday, authorities said.

Jasmin Wickard of Leipsic, who was riding in a van belonging to the Harvest Assembly of God Church of West Leipsic, was declared dead at St. Rita's Medical Center in Lima three hours after the 4:45 p.m. crash, troopers from the State Highway Patrol's Lima post said.

The crash, at the intersection of State Rt. 65 and County Road O, a mile north of Columbus Grove, occurred when a car traveling west on Road O failed to stop at a stop sign and struck the van, troopers said.

Aloysius Warnecke, 91, of Columbus Grove was driving the car that hit the van, driven by John Nieto, 23, of Leipsic. The van was heading south on Route 65.

The van was carrying nine passengers, including:

  • Shelby Davis, 12, of Leipsic, who was also taken to St. Rita's, then flown by medical helicopter to Toledo Hospital. She was listed in critical condition.

  • Anisha Minjarez, 14, of Leipsic, who was taken to Lima Memorial Hospital.

  • Janelle Benroth, 22, of Columbus Grove, who was taken to Lima Memorial Hospital.

  • Eli Gabel, 13, of Ottawa, Ohio, and Jessica Wickard, 13, of Leipsic, who were treated at Lima Memorial Hospital.

    Two other unidentified passengers were flown to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, Toledo; and two other unidentified passengers were taken to St. Rita's Ambulatory Care Center in Glandorf, Ohio, where Mr. Nieto also was taken.

    Mr. Warnecke was driving his wife, Anna Marie, 86. Both were taken to the Glandorf center.

    The crash remains under investigation.

    No one had been cited in the crash last night.

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