Monument denoting Native American trail was knocked over in accident.
The monument outlines the historic importance of the Great Trail, which extended from Pittsburgh to Detroit.
Call it the runaway monument.
The historical marker — stationary while minding its own business in the early-morning hours — was uprooted Thursday from its longtime home and dragged through two communities for 4 miles.
The culprit? A tractor-trailer rig that turned from U.S. 24 onto the residential River Road stretch, where it knocked over the monument and took it for a ride.
"We are very fortunate it wasn't destroyed," Marilyn Wendler, curator of the Maumee Valley Historical Society, said of the monument.
"This monument is very important to the whole community and the history of northwest Ohio. And replacing a monument like that would be very costly."
The marker at River Road and South Detroit Avenue in Maumee denotes the importance of the Great Trail, made by Native Americans before the French and Indian War, which extended from Detroit to Pittsburgh and was used by the French and British and by Gen. William Henry Harrison in 1812.
The trail was regarded as the most important early route of the central west, according to the inscription on the marker that was erected in 1913 by the Daughters of the American Revolution, Ursula Wolcott Chapter.
Joe Camp, Maumee's director of public service, said the city has contacted Design Memorial of Maumee to assess the damage to engravings on the back of the marker before it determines how long the restoration would take. The concrete monument was chipped, but the front metal plate was intact.
"I would say we are very lucky it is still in one piece the way it got dragged," Jack Hiles, executive director of the Maumee Valley Historical Society, said of the marker. "And we are very lucky it fell ending up on the back so the bronze marker was intact."
Authorities were notified at 5:44 a.m. that the tractor-trailer rig had run over a curb and struck the monument.
When the rig came to the intersection of the Anthony Wayne Trail and Glendale Avenue four miles north in Toledo, it stopped. Crews removed the monument from beneath the rig by about 8:05 a.m., and the rig pulled away.
"We feel sorry this has happened," Wioletta Bilan, 42, of Michigan, the owner of the semi, said.
The truck driver, whose name was not released, was driving on U.S. 24 in Mau
mee toward downtown Toledo. He took a right turn onto South Detroit Avenue and then hit the monument at the corner of South Detroit and River Road while making a left turn.
Not noticing he struck it, he continued north on River to the circle turn at Harvard Boulevard and Glendale Avenue, where he turned left onto Glendale. He finally stopped at Glendale and the Anthony Wayne Trail after his co-driver heard a noise and alerted him, Ms. Bilan said.
This historical photo shows the marker that was dragged along the Anthony Wayne Trail after a semi struck it Thursday morning.
Toledo Lucas County Public Library Enlarge
She said GPS routed the truck to turn left onto River from South Detroit, she said.
"This was a very sharp turn and it was dark," the truck owner said. "The driver was in the process of making this turn when he hit [the marker]. He knew he drove over the curb because he had no choice [in order] to make the turn. That's why he did not realize he had run over the marker."
If the driver is cited in the incident, the bill will be turned over to his insurance company, Mr. Camp said. Charges against the driver were pending the completion of the police report, which probably will occur Friday, Maumee Police Chief Robert Zink said.
The marker was returned to its original location late Thursday morning. It has not yet been re-erected, which was contingent on the pending damage assessment for the monument. No one was reported injured in the incident, according to Maumee and Toledo police.
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