A happy-go-lucky grandfather of eight was only trying to break up a heated exchange between another family member and a Michigan man at a bar, an act of intervention that cost Daniel Vasquez his life, family said.
Darlene Vasquez, his wife of 11 years, said it wasn't like her husband to initiate a fight — he was a 59-year-old man with health problems and the sort of personality that allowed him to make friends with anyone.
“My husband's a good man and a good grandpa,” Mrs. Vasquez said.
His family said they're still learning the details of what happened last week at Brew Ha's bar, 5801 Telegraph Rd., but they believe it started with a miscommunication between Mr. Vasquez's nephew and another bar patron.
Mr. Vasquez of the 4600 block of Rambo Lane tried to stop it from escalating, his wife said. But he was caught in the middle and was left with extensive injuries.
In a 911 call released to The Blade Tuesday, the caller, who identifies herself as a bartender, tells the dispatcher a patron hit his head “very hard.”
“He's an older man, and he was trying to help his friend and they knocked him out,” the bartender said.
Police responded to the bar at approximately 12:45 a.m. on Jan. 31 and found Mr. Vasquez unconscious on the ground.
A preliminary autopsy report indicated Mr. Vasquez died of complications of blunt force trauma to the head, according to the Lucas County Coroner’s Office. His death is ruled a homicide.
Carl W. Wimpey, Jr., 37, of Erie Township, Mich., is charged in connection to the death of Mr. Vasquez. He is charged with murder, a first-degree felony.
Mr. Wimpey was arraigned Tuesday in Toledo Municipal Court, where Judge Joseph Howe set bond at $500,000 at no percent.
Mr. Wimpey’s attorney, Sheldon Wittenberg, said his client allegedly struck Mr. Vasquez once during a bar fight. Mr. Wimpey turned himself into authorities Monday, Mr. Wittenberg said.
He is being held in the Lucas County jail.
Mrs. Vasquez received a call early Jan. 31, telling her to go to Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center, where she learned her husband was critically injured. He had a severe head injury, a broken jaw, a broken nose, and multiple facial fractures, his wife said.
“We prayed for a miracle, but in my heart, I knew it wasn’t going to happen,” Mrs. Vasquez said.
Several of Mr. Wimpey’s family members appeared in court Tuesday, but declined to comment following the hearing.
Mrs. Vasquez, her niece, and the couple's four children and young grandchildren gathered in their West Toledo home Tuesday, sorting through photos and preparing for funeral arrangements.
Mrs. Vasquez said she doesn’t believe her husband ever went to that bar and she did not know of Mr. Wimpey.
“We have so many questions. It’s just horrific,” said Mrs. Vasquez’s niece, Wendy Mjoen, of Arizona.
Mr. Wimpey is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing Feb. 15.
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