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Monday, June 15th, 2009
By Margie Wuebker
Teen critical after fall
  A Fort Recovery teen remains in critical condition after he fell from the bed of a pickup truck early Sunday morning. The 4:13 a.m. mishap occurred along Erastus-Durbin Road, north of Siegrist Jutte Road, according to Mercer County Sheriff's Office reports.
Matthew G. Vagedes, 19, 2438 Philothea Road, Fort Recovery, struck his head on the pavement after falling from the bed of a truck driven by Austin M. Burkhardt, 19, 2974 state Route 219, Coldwater.
Chief Deputy Gery Thobe reported there are conflicting accounts of how the accident occurred. Vagedes either lost his footing when the truck driver accelerated or he stood up for some reason and fell.
Burkhardt and front-seat passenger Cody Edward Heitkamp, 4304 Erastus-Durbin Road, Fort Recovery, lifted their injured friend into the pickup bed and drove to Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater.
Following treatment in the emergency room, Vagedes was transferred aboard a CareFlight emergency helicopter to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. He remains under care in the intensive care unit as of press time this morning.
Hospital officials initially contacted Coldwater Police, who in turn alerted sheriff's office personnel.
The subsequent investigation determined the driver had been drinking at some point during the evening although his blood-alcohol content measured 0.001 considerably less than the 0.08 measurement at which a person is considered impaired. A deputy also cited erratic operation of the pickup truck as a contributing factor in the accident.
The accident remains under investigation with no charges filed as yet.
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