Fatal Holmes crash still under investigation

By CHRISTINE L. PRATTStaff Writer Published:

Deputies are investigating the death of a 32-year-old Baltic woman who was involved in a single-vehicle crash late Monday or early Tuesday.

Melissa S. Lawson, 206 N. Ray St., Apt. 1, was transported to Pomerene Hospital in Millersburg by a Holmes Fire District No. 1 squad, where she was pronounced dead by Coroner Dr. Robert Anthony, according to a press release issued by the Holmes County Sheriff's Office.

The crash occurred on County Road 19, just west of the intersection with Mechanic Township Road 112, according to the release, which notes the investigation suggests Lawson was driving her 1996 Pontiac eastbound on County Road 19 when she failed to negotiate a curve to the right. Lawson's vehicle went off the left side of the road, where it struck a fence before coming to rest in a small creek.

"It appears Lawson may have been ejected from the vehicle when the driver's side door opened. Lawson was found on the ground next to the vehicle by a passerby who called 9-1-1," according to the release.

The call was received by Holmes County dispatch around midnight, said Chief Deputy Nathan Fritz. It did not appear as though Lawson was wearing a seat belt.

Fritz also said the crash report indicates there is no evidence of braking.

Lawson's body was taken to the Stark County Coroner's Office for an autopsy. Injuries received as a result of the crash did not appear life threatening, however, any internal injuries or pre-existing health conditions are unknown at this time, according to the release.

Alcohol appears to be a factor in the crash; drug use is unknown at this time, pending toxicology and autopsy reports, according to the release, which notes Lawson's estimated speed at the time of the crash was between 20 and 28 mph. The speed limit on the road is 55 mph.

Reporter Christine L. Pratt can be reached at 330-674-5676 or by email at cpratt@the-daily-record.com.

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