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03-29-04 Man dies; vehicle sinks into river

By Margie Wuebker

An Elida man was killed Saturday morning when he was thrown from his vehicle before it sank in the St. Marys River along Frysinger Road in Dublin Township.
   Michael Dix, 52, 7044 Allentown Road, was pronounced dead at the scene by Mercer County Dr. Timothy Heinrichs after a passerby spotted the body lying on the north bank of the river and called 911 at 11:54 a.m.
   Mercer County Sheriff’s deputies responding to the scene found a car mirror laying next to the body. There was no trace of a vehicle but a tire track was located in the grass and the muddy lake water appeared to be rippling in an unusual pattern off the opposite bank.
   The Celina Fire Department dive team was called to the scene. Divers located the car — a 1990 Subaru Legacy — resting on its wheels in 8 to 10 feet of water. A crane from Jackson’s Wrecker Service lifted the vehicle from the water.
   Dix reportedly left his Elida home at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, telling relatives he was heading to an auto parts store. Deputies do not know how he happened to wind up on Frysinger Road driving northbound at a high rate of speed. His vehicle went off the right side of the road for an unknown reason and struck the bridge guardrail. It then careened off the east side of the pavement and struck a small island in the river. The vehicle spun and rolled at that point, ejecting the driver against a rock.
   Sheriff Jeff Grey told The Daily Standard this morning that the car came to rest in the water and apparently sunk facing in a southwesterly direction.
   “If the victim had remained inside the car, it could have been sometime before we located him,” Grey added. “It appears the driver took no evasive action and the accident remains under investigation.”
    The coroner has ordered an autopsy to establish the cause of death and rule out any physical problems that led to the accident. Grey said alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the crash.
   Dix had worked the past 19 years as a code enforcement inspector in the community development department for the city of Lima.
   He and his wife, the former Yvonne M. Kline, have two sons, Eric Michael and Christopher Michael, both at home. His death reportedly occurred on the birthday of one of the sons.
   Mercer County Emergency Response Volunteers assisted with traffic control during the accident investigation.
   Mercer County recorded its first traffic fatality Jan. 22 when Larry L. Wine Jr., 19, 1610 E. Livingston St., Celina, was pronounced dead on arrival at Mercer County Community Hospital following a single-vehicle accident west of St. Henry.


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