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Published: Saturday, 4/19/2008

Car crash on State Rt. 281 kills 2 from Wayne, Ohio

JERRY CITY, Ohio - A man and a woman, both from Wayne, Ohio, were killed and another area woman was hurt yesterday in a single-car crash on State Rt. 281 near this Wood County community, authorities said.

James Fillhart, 35, and Jeannie Merritt, 24, who were thrown from the car, were pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Wood County Sheriff's Office.

Linsay Traut, 28, also from the Wayne area, the vehicle's third occupant, was airlifted to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, where she was admitted in fair condition.

The crash occurred about 1 a.m. in Portage Township, about 1 1/2 miles north of Jerry City.

Mr. Fillhart was driving a 2008 Mustang west on Route 281 at a high rate of speed when it went off the north side of the roadway, struck a guardrail, and overturned several times, throwing him and Ms. Merritt, who was in the back seat, from the car, Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn said.

Mr. Fillhart and Ms. Merritt were not wearing seat belts; Ms. Traut was, the sheriff said.

The cause of the accident is under investigation. Sheriff Wasylyshyn said investigators are awaiting the results of toxicology tests to determine if alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Ms. Traut told deputies she and her friends had been at Bike Night at Snuffy's Reloaded bar on U.S. 6 near Bradner, Ohio.

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