Monday, December 20th, 2010
Child dies in local accident
Driver charged with vehicular homicide
By Margie Wuebker
FORT RECOVERY - An 8-year-old Indiana boy died Saturday night when the pickup truck in which he and other family members were riding slid out of control on Stateline Road near Fort Recovery. His death marks the sixth traffic fatality of the year in Mercer County in as many days.
Andres Villegas, of Union City, was pronounced dead at Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater shortly after the 7:04 p.m. crash. His death marks the eighth traffic fatality of the year.
Deputies responded to Stateline Road near Lowry Road after receiving a 911 call regarding a single-vehicle accident with four of the five occupants screaming for help.
Elegar Enriguez, 27, also of Union City, was driving northbound on Stateline Road when his 2002 Dodge pickup truck slid on the ice-covered roadway, according to Mercer County Sheriff's Office reports. The vehicle traveled off the east side, rolled and struck a tree before coming to rest. Enriguez reportedly does not have a driver's license.
Enriguez, 25-year-old Yessenia Villegas and three backseat passengers, all of whom resided at the same Union City address, were taken by ambulance to the Coldwater hospital.
Pedro Villegas Jr., the twin brother of the victim, was then taken by CareFlight emergency helicopter to Children's Medical Center in Dayton, where he remains in critical condition this morning. Passenger Clarisa Vela, 11, later went by helicopter to the same hospital and remains in fair condition today.
Following treatment in the emergency room at Coldwater, Yessenia Villegas was taken by ambulance to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. Her condition was not available, according to a hospital spokeswoman this morning.
Enriguez was treated then released before being booked into the Mercer County Adult Detention Facility on a charge of vehicular homicide.
Deputies were assisted at the scene by Fort Recovery Police, Southwest Mercer Fire Department and St. Henry and Coldwater units of Mercer County Emergency Medical Services.
First responders and hospital personnel initially had problems communicating with the injured until a translator who speaks Spanish was called.
"We went well into 2010 with only one traffic fatality," Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey said this morning. "Sometimes we get lulled into a sense of false security. We need to realize serious accidents do occur and drive accordingly."
Mercer County recorded its second fatality of the year the morning of Nov. 16 when Justin M. Florence, 22, of Portland, Ind., died of injuries sustained when the car in which he was riding was struck from behind by a semitrailer north of Fort Recovery.
The latest rash of fatalities started the evening of Dec. 13 when Ashley M. Curry, 24, of Montezuma, and her unborn baby were pronounced dead following a two-vehicle crash on U.S. 127 at Coldwater Creek Road. Curry was riding in a car driven by her fiance when it slid out of control and was struck in the passenger side by another vehicle.
A Dec. 14 accident at the intersection of U.S. 127 and U.S. 33 resulted in the deaths of Regina D. Spradlin, 50, of Rockford, her daughter-in-law, Bethany R. Spradlin, 25, of St. Marys, and Bethany's son, 3-year-old Jordan J. Spradlin. The only survivor, 4-year-old Gabriel Spradlin, has been ungraded to fair condition at a Fort Wayne, Ind., hospital. It is believed the elder Spradlin drove through a red light and into the path of a semitrailer that had the right of way.
"To the best of our knowledge, none of the accidents involved alcohol," Grey told the newspaper this morning. "We need to be alert and especially at this time of the year."
Grey credited county and state highway crews with doing a good job at clearing roads in the wake of storms. However, he added overpasses and intersections tend to become slippery; and drivers need to be aware of road conditions.
"Be cautious and drive slowly," the sheriff warned. "And always be alert for other drivers on the road."