The Ohio State Highway Patrol lists 6 fatal crashes in the county in 2013. Pictured is the scene from the December accident on US 127 that took the life of Shannon Sholler.
As we move from 2013 to 2014, we take time to look back at the top stories of the past year. Van Wert County saw events that were controversial, positive, terrifying, and disappointing during the 12 months. It certainly was not a boring year, and the candidates for the top ten stories of the year were widely varied. Choosing the top stories is never easy since one story will affect people quite differently, and some stories which generate little interest from the public actually have great impact on everyone. So the rankings are subjective, based on both community discussion and overall impact on the people of Van Wert County. We continue today with stories six through four.
Fatal traffic crashes are a part of every year. In this area we lose valued family members, friends, and even visitors each year. We also lose local residents in traffic mishaps elsewhere. In the year 2013 that trend continued, and the tragedies began early. On Jan. 2, 2013 Gary Knott of Van Wert was killed on I-69 near Anderson, Indiana when his semi carrying an asphalt additive struck the rear of another semi and jackknifed, spun, and rolled before striking a guard rail. Just a few days later, Sandra Dealey of Convoy was killed in a fiery crash near the U.S. 30 and I-469 interchange near New Haven, Indiana caused when a tractor-trailer slammed into a line of traffic waiting at a stop light.
There were crashes here at home also. On May 31, Ryan Lee Schisler-Caywood died when he pulled into the path of a semi while trying to pass on U.S. 127. Near the beginning of April, a 21-year-old Ohio City man was killed after crashing into a pole on Ohio City-Venedocia Rd. On Oct. 29, a South Carolina man visiting relatives locally was killed when a deer struck the car he was riding in. On that same day, near Antwerp, a fiery wreck involving two tractor-trailers was reported. One of the truck drivers was not in his vehicle at the time of the crash, but was killed after being struck by debris. A deer was also responsible for a May 3 fatality when Dana Nofer struck a deer with his motorcycle.
The fatalities carried on through December. A 84-year-old woman was struck and killed by a truck as she was exiting the Van Wert Walmart on Dec. 18. Then two days later, 41-year-old Shannon Sholler was killed when her car crossed the center line on U.S. 127 north of Van Wert and struck an oncoming car.
The Ohio State Highway lists six fatal crashes in the county in 2013, the same number as 2012. This does not include several crashes in Paulding, Allen and Mercer counties. While always a danger in a county like this, fatalities always strike hard and quickly in various areas of the community.