2011-11-12 / News

Fire chief describes unusual rescue

By Scott Rawdon

UNION TOWNSHIP – It was Oct. 19 when the incident occurred, but the circumstances were so unusual that Hebron Fire Chief Randy Weekly remembers it like it happened yesterday.

Weekly described a rescue for Union Township Trustees Monday night a involving Athens hotelier Ramesh Patel, 66, who apparently drove his Honda van through a guardrail on Ohio 79 near O’Neill Drive at 10:25 p.m. The van plunged over an embankment and into the chest high water of Beaver Run Creek. The strong current swept the van into a culvert beneath Ohio 79 where it became lodged. Patel, who later died of his injuries at Grant Hospital, was still alive when emergency crews arrived.

“Of course, he was out of sight,” said Weekly. He said the person who reported the accident left the scene and couldn’t be found. However, Weekly said if that person had not reported the accident “(Patel) would’ve been down there for eternity.” He said emergency crews surveyed the area. “We heard somebody calling,” said Weekly. “It was pretty eerie.”

The Tri-County Dive Team was dispatched to help pull Patel from the trapped van. Weekly said the crash was particularly brutal for Patel because his airbag would have deployed when the van hit the guardrail. “It was a wallop. That would’ve been like hitting a brick wall,” he said. Then the van smashed into the Beaver Run Creek bed without a second airbag to cushion Patel’s impact. “He had life threatening injuries,” said Weekly. Patel died from those injuries Oct. 20.

In other township news:

• Monday night, Trustee President John Slater said crews were finished with repairs to Blacks and Swamp roads, and the township is gearing up for a winter of spreading salt and plowing roads. He said the grass mower is “retired” for the season and part-time employees who mow and do other warm weather work are laid-off for the season.

Slater said road crews will be crack sealing roads at various locations needing it. He said this is the perfect time to crack seal pavement, because the cooler temperatures open up the roads surfaces and make the cracks more visible.

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