GRAND RAPIDS, Ohio - Standing near where two of her friends once lived, 16-year-old Breanna Perry struggled yesterday with the reality that neither of them would be coming home.
David Todd, 18, and Jacob Polen, 17, both students at Otsego High School, were killed in a single-vehicle crash Tuesday night on Grand Rapids Road, just north of U.S. 24, the Ohio Highway Patrol said.
Alcohol is suspected as a factor in the crash, said Lt. John Altman, commander of the patrol's Toledo post.
"I still keep waiting for them to walk from that trailer to come to my house," Breanna said. "We're all still in shock."
The driver of the car, Glenn Walbolt, 56, was taken to the University of Toledo Medical Center, formerly the Medical College of Ohio Hospital, with nonlife-threatening injuries, troopers said. The hospital last night had no information on a patient by his name.
Mr. Walbolt was north-bound on State Rt. 578 about midnight Tuesday when he crossed U.S. 24.
He lost control of his car on Grand Rapids Road, went off the right side of the road, and struck a utility pole, troopers said.
Lieutenant Altman said the impact of the crash tore the car nearly in half.
"When you look at the damage, speed has got to be a part of it," he said. "A car does not tear apart without having some increase in speed."
He said the two teenagers were partially ejected from the vehicle. No one in the car was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
Blood was taken from Mr. Walbolt at the hospital, but the lieutenant said it could be several weeks before any results are available.
Lieutenant Altman said charges are pending the completion of the investigation.
Mr. Todd and the Polen youth both died as a result of multiple blunt-force injuries suffered in the crash, said Dr. Cynthia Beisser, a deputy Lucas County coroner.
All the victims lived in the Grand Rapids Village Estates mobile home park off Wapakoneta Road, Lieutenant Altman said.
MaKayla Ackerman, who is the niece of the Polen youth, said her family was awakened early yesterday morning by an Ohio Highway Patrol trooper.
"I broke down. I didn't want to believe it," MaKayla said.
She said the two have grown up together and she considered him more of a big brother than an uncle.
"He was really protective of me," she said.
MaKayla said she knew Mr. Todd and the Polen youth were hanging out with Mr. Walbolt on Tuesday night.
She sent the Polen boy a text message about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, asking him when he would be home. But he never responded, MaKayla said.
Lieutenant Altman said authorities are trying to determine the events leading up to the crash.
Breanna said she became physically sick when David's sister told her what had happened. She and MaKayla, who are also students at Otsego, stayed home from school yesterday.
The girls said that Mr. Todd and the Polen youth both liked fishing and camping and had a good sense of humor.
"They liked to have fun and play jokes on people," she said. "Everybody loved them."
Otsego High School Principal Ray Graves said the mood at the high school was somber yesterday, where grief counselors were available for students and staff.
"They were just fine young people that didn't get a chance to lead a full life," Mr. Graves said. "We'll miss them."
Contact Laren Weber at:
or 419-724-6050.41.41182 -83.86462