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Felony charges filed in fiery fatal crash

By Norwalk Reflector staff • Updated Aug 17, 2018 at 3:38 PM

A Huron County grand jury has indicted a truck driver for his role in a fatal traffic accident that happened nearly two years ago.

William E. Brindle, 64, of Athens, was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide (a third-degree felony), vehicular homicide (first-degree misdemeanor), vehicular manslaughter (second-degree misdemeanor) and two counts of vehicular assault (both fourth-degree felonies).

The fiery crash happened Nov. 17, 2016 on Ohio 13 near Fitchville.

Zachary T. Warner, 34, of Bucyrus, died two days later at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo.

Warner was one of three men — all working for Oberlander’s Tree and Landscaping of Bucyrus — who were seriously injured in the accident.

Two Oberlander vehicles were parked in the northbound lanes of Ohio 13, just north of U.S. 224, and a flagger was in place behind the vehicles just before 11 a.m., said troopers with the Norwalk post of the state Highway Patrol.

Warner and two workmates — Calvin J. Hoover, then 50, of Tiffin, and Ryan A. Niedermeier, then 28, of Bucyrus — were standing near the vehicles, getting ready to trim evergreens along the power lines when a northbound commercial semi-tractor trailer driven by Brindle failed to stop and struck both tree company vehicles and the three men, troopers said.

Upon impact, the semi caught fire and eventually was destroyed.

Brindle, who lived in Ashland at the time, sustained non-life threatening injuries and was transported by North Central EMS to Fisher-Titus Medical Center.

Hoover and Niedermeier sustained serious injuries, the former being flown by a medical helicoper to St. Vincent’s and the latter being transported by ambulance to Fisher-Titus. Both men eventually recovered.

The grand jury also indicted 15 other suspects on various felony charges Aug. 10. A separate story about the rest of the grand jury indictments is posted on the Norwalk Reflector website.

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