By Margie Wuebker
A Celina man and a Russia teenager were killed Tuesday night when a car struck disabled farm equipment on a rural Darke County road south of Osgood.
Gary J. Baumer, 50, 7208 State Line Road, Celina, and Kyle Magoto, 16, 3820 Simon Road, Russia, were pronounced dead at the scene around 11:30 p.m.
The accident occurred on Darke-Shelby Road south of Julian Road as Baumer and his brother, David, worked on a disabled chisel plow attached to a large dual-wheeled tractor.
David Baumer reportedly saw Magoto's southbound car approaching and told the other man they should get off the road.
"One brother jumped into the ditch expecting the other to follow suit and he didn't," Darke County Sheriff's Deputy Joedy Deeter told The Daily Standard this morning. "David just cleared the road as the car hit and escaped injury." The Baumers, who work for a company that pumps out farm lagoons, were in the process of moving the equipment from one job site to another. Gary Baumer was driving the tractor northbound and towing the chisel plow when he stopped on the road due to an unspecified mechanical problem. His brother, following in a pickup truck, also stopped.
Both the tractor and pickup truck had emergency flashers operating when the first emergency vehicles arrived on the scene, Deeter said.
Magoto, a Russia High School sophomore, was driving southbound when his car sideswiped one of the large rear tractor wheels before striking the Celina-area man and hitting the end of the plow. Black marks from the tractor tire were found along the length of the heavily damaged car.
The youth, who was en route home from his job at McDonald's in Minster and using a seat belt, was still breathing when a first responder arrived on the scene. However, he died before the arrival of a CareFlight emergency helicopter, according to Deeter.
In addition to Darke County Sheriff's personnel and CareFlight, others responding to the scene were Osgood Fire Department, Osgood Rescue Squad, Versailles Rescue Squad and Shelby County Sheriff's deputies.
The accident remains under investigation.
"My brothers were transferring equipment from one job site to another," said Coldwater resident Nancy Weigel. "They were supposed to start a new job in Indiana this morning."
She called her brother Gary, the third oldest in a line of eight children, "a gentle giant," due to his size and disposition. He enjoyed farming, metal work, welding and being with people.
"Gary was a very big person with a very big heart," she added in a voice choked with emotion this morning. "He was a year younger than me, but he always served as my protector and my partner in childhood mischief."
The former Agco employee also served as a bouncer at several establishments including Padua Pub and the Pit Stop near his home.
"His appearance was intimidating, but he had such a gentle, caring nature," Weigel added. "His appearance alone steered troublemakers away and diffused a lot of tense situations."
Russia High School Principal Vern Rosenbeck said counselors would be available for staff and students today -- the final day of classes before summer break.
"Kyle was an excellent student and an excellent athlete," Rosenbeck added. "He received the blue and gold award Monday night at the spring sports program."
The honor goes to an athlete who gives 110 percent every time he steps on the field and consistently goes the extra mile, according to Rosenbeck.
Magoto, the son of Steven and Judy Magoto, participated in cross country, track and basketball. He also was a member of the yearbook staff.
Arrangements for Baumer are pending at Hogenkamp Funeral Home, Coldwater, while Bailey Zechar Funeral Home in Versailles will handle Magoto's arrangements.