08-08-03: Celina man dies in head-on
|By MARGIE WUEBKER
A local man died early today after the sport utility vehicle he was
driving drifted left of center and collided head-on with a semitrailer along U.S. 127 at
Brown Road, south of Celina.
Anthony R. "Tony" Kittle, 24, 312 Leona St., was pronounced
dead at the scene of the 2:26 a.m. crash, according to Mercer County Sheriff's Office
Kittle, en route home after putting in overtime at work, was driving a
Toyota Forerunner northbound when it crossed the centerline for an unknown reason and
struck the southbound truck driven by Andrew L. Dugan, 26, of Portland, Ind.
Following the collision in the southbound lane, the Kittle vehicle
rolled onto the passenger side and came to rest against the guardrail on the east side of
the roadway. Smoke rose from the wreckage but no flames were visible. The truck careened
into the northbound lane and struck the same guardrail which highway crews had replaced
several weeks ago. It was pushed out a distance of several feet at impact.
Dugan was not injured. Both he and the victim were using seatbelts,
according to sheriff's office reports.
Celina firefighters used the Jaws of Life device to free Kittle from
the wreckage. Acting Mercer County Coroner Dr. John Naveau also responded to the scene.
The accident remains under investigation as deputies await blood test
results that would indicate whether alcohol was a factor.
Both heavily damaged vehicles were towed from the scene.
Kittle, an employee of Select-Arc in Fort Loramie for three years, had
not been scheduled to work Thursday night, according to Ann Nelson, his mother-in-law.
"He decided to take advantage of an opportunity for
overtime," she added. "He told Alicia (his wife) he would likely work until
about 1:30 or 2 a.m."
Kittle, who recently moved to the 7 p.m.-7 a.m. night shift at the
factory, has two young children, Alison, and 9-month-old Zachary. Alison, whom Nelson
describes as "daddy's little girl," marks her fourth birthday Saturday. The
family had planned to mark the occasion with a party and a decorated cake.
Decribed as an outdoorsman, Kittle enjoyed camping, canoeing, fishing
and hunting. He often took his daughter fishing and looked forward to the day when Zachary
could join them.
He was a member of the Mercer County Sportsmen Club and worked with a
youth program promoting gun safety.
"Tony liked to have fun," Nelson said. "He was outgoing
and easy to get along with. He loved his family more than anything. At a time like this,
you want to ask 'Why?' but there is no answer."
Kittle's death marks the fourth Mercer County traffic fatality for
2003. It comes on the heels of another tragedy - the death of 3-year-old Tony Osterloh of
Maria Stein. He died Wednesday night of injuries sustained in a traffic-related accident
at his home. He wandered from the house and was struck by a pickup truck being backed by
Arrangements are pending at Lehman Funeral Home, Celina.
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