Thursday, April 26th, 2007
Man sentenced to prison for hunting accident
By Shelley Grieshop
A Van Wert man will serve six months in jail for killing a young father in a hunting accident in January 2006.
Troy Clark, 37, was sentenced in Van Wert County Commo Pleas Court on Wednesday morning by Judge Charles Steele, who also ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine and court costs.
Clark, who was hunting with his then 15-year-old nephew, mistook Trevor J. Ellerbrock, 27, of Van Wert, for a coyote in a field along Convoy Road, west of U.S. 127, in Van Wert County.
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Van Wert County Sheriff's Office reports, Clark and Ellerbrock were separately hunting at dusk in the same field on Jan. 15, 2006, and unaware of each other's presence. Ellerbrock was using an electronic calling device that mimics the sound of an animal in distress, when Clark fired a .35-calliber rifle toward the source of the noise about 103 yards away.
Ellerbrock was struck in the stomach and pronounced dead a short time later at Van Wert County Hospital.
Evidence in the case showed Clark and his nephew were not properly licensed to hunt and had never attended a hunter safety course as required by law.
Ellerbrock and his wife, Victoria, had one child, a son named Aiden Ryan.
Ellerbrock's mother, Marlene Cheney, addressed the court before sentencing Wednesday and told Clark it was time he get his life together and begin acting his age.
Ellerbrock's wife, Victoria, also spoke out: "I want you to know how disgusted I am with you. Because of your actions I am left with a 3-year-old boy that cries every night ... and wants to go to heaven to see his dad."
Steele told Clark he was not eligible for community control, which could have included probation terms. Instead, he sentenced Clark to the maximum jail sentence allowable by law for the first-degree misdemeanor charge.
Steele called the statements made by the Ellerbrock family "good advice" and said he hoped Clark would use it to change his life.