Monday, February 6th, 2012
Parkway teen dies after car veers into pond
By Shelley Grieshop
ROCKFORD - A Rockford teen died Saturday night after her car veered from the roadway, climbed a small embankment and sank in a pond in Putnam County.
Brianna E. Coon, 17, a junior at Parkway High School, was pronounced dead at the scene along County Road P, north of Ottoville. Her white 1995 Dodge Neon was pulled from the rural pond about two hours after she placed a frantic 911 call for help from her cellphone.
"It was a short call that gave us an approximate area, but it was dropped before we could get any good information," Sgt. Rick Sanchez of the Lima post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.
The call, which lasted less than 20 seconds, was received by a dispatcher with the Van Wert County Sheriff's Office after bouncing between two cell towers, he said.
"I don't know what to do!" a distraught Coon can be heard saying during the 911 call.
In a frightened and barely audible voice, she tells the dispatcher she's in water in the Van Wert area before the call is lost.
Officials used triangulation and mapping to identify ponds in the area but did not locate the scene for about an hour despite assistance from multiple law enforcement agencies.
A trooper who is familiar with the area spotted tire tracks and a Neon hubcap near the pond. The Putnam County Dive Team was summoned; Coon was found inside the vehicle when it was pulled from the pond, Sanchez said.
Troopers believe the teen was driving east across a bridge when a sudden change in the contour of the road caused her to brake abruptly. She swerved to the left and her car traveled off the roadway.
"It appears she got off the side of the road and just overcorrected," Sanchez said.
Sanchez said it's not clear where Coon was going when the accident occurred. She was wearing a seat belt, and alcohol is not believed to be a factor, he said.
Coon was the daughter of James F. Coon of Van Wert, and Diana and Jason Rissner of Rockford. Also surviving are four brothers.
Parkway High School Principal Brian Fortkamp said a schoolwide announcement was made this morning to inform fellow students about the tragedy.
"We held a moment of silence for her and her family," he said.
Counselors and pastors were on hand to assist in the grieving process, he said.
Coon also attended Vantage Vocational School, Van Wert, along with her older brother, Nick, a senior. Her younger siblings are students at Parkway middle and elementary schools, Fortkamp said.
"This involves the whole school," he added.
Fortkamp described the young lady as a "sweet kid with a very pleasant personality." She was a member of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, the Haiti Interact Club and the Parkway bowling team and worked at McDonald's in Van Wert.
A funeral service is planned for Saturday. Complete obituary information is in today's paper.