Monday, June 30th, 2008
By Margie Wuebker
Local woman dies in accident
A 21-year-old Fort Recovery woman died early today of injuries sustained in a two-vehicle crash Sunday afternoon along U.S. 127, north of Olding Road.
Rachel M. Brackman, 1679 Philothea Road, was pronounced dead at 2:44 a.m. at Miami Valley Hospital, where she had been taken by CareFlight emergency helicopter following the 4:31 p.m. crash.
Brackman was a passenger in a southbound 1998 Pontiac Firebird driven by her boyfriend, Alan M. Rinderle, 23, 222 Anthony Drive, St. Henry. The couple were en route from a birthday party at a relative's home to his home when a deer darted into their path.
The Mercer County Sheriff's Office reported Rinderle apparently swerved to miss the deer and traveled across the centerline and off the left side of the road. His car struck a northbound 1992 Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Jeremy M. Homan, 20, 2820 state Route 119, St. Henry.
Homan reportedly saw Rinderle's approaching vehicle and traveled off the road in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid the accident. Both vehicles overturned upon impact and came to rest in the ditch.
Brackman, co-valedictorian of the Fort Recovery High School Class of 2005, was freed from the wreckage and taken by ambulance to Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater. She was then transferred to Miami Valley aboard CareFlight.
The drivers were taken to Community Hospital in another ambulance. Information on their conditions was not available this morning due to federal patient privacy regulations.
The accident remains under investigation. Alcohol was not a factor in the crash, according to sheriff's office reports, and both occupants of the Rinderle car were using seat belts at the time.
Brackman, the daughter of Gerald Brackman and Deborah Homan, both of Fort Recovery, planned to attend Edison State Community College in Piqua this fall as a nursing student.
"Rachel previously attended Ohio State University in Columbus as a pharmacy major," her father told The Daily Standard this morning. "She made the decision to switch majors and attend school closer to home. She and a friend planned to take turns driving to and from Piqua in the fall."
He laughed softly and then shared a poignant memory. Rachel had taken up bow hunting in recent months at her boyfriend's urging. She bagged her first kill - a frog - hours before the accident and captured the image on her cell phone. Like a hunter showing off a prize buck, she sent the picture to her mother and others.
The blonde-haired woman with a ready smile and a penchant for orneriness never regained consciousness following the crash, her father said.
"We got to see Rachel before the helicopter left," Brackman said. "She was not responding and that worried the people in the emergency room. Otherwise, she looked really good."
Relatives arrived in Dayton to learn she had been taken to the operating room for emergency surgery. Brackman said they prayed for a good outcome. However, the bad news came later.
"The doctor told us Rachel had sustained serious head injuries and the outcome was in God's hands," he said. "We talked to her all through the night and prayed she heard our words. Rachel just slipped away without regaining consciousness."
Rinderle reportedly left the Coldwater hospital despite multiple injuries in order to go to her bedside and be with family members.
"Oh my, we will miss her radiant smile," Brackman said. "I never saw her mad. She was a prankster, a fireball and a really good kid."
Other survivors include two younger sisters and a younger brother.
Arrangements are pending at Brockman and Boeckman Funeral Home in Fort Recovery.
This marks the fourth fatal accident this year in Mercer County with a total of seven lives lost since March 15. Six of the victims ranged in age from 18 to 21. The other victim was a 62-year-old Rockford truck driver.
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Partly cloudy, breezy