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Driver in Holmes County buggy crash dies from injuries

By CHRISTINE L. PRATT Staff Writer Published: January 28, 2017 5:00 AM

WOOSTER -- The driver of a car involved in a collision with a horse-drawn buggy last week has succumbed to her injuries.

Joyce Morris, 74, Maple Street NW, Sugarcreek, died Saturday from injuries sustained in the Jan. 17 crash, which occurred at 11:10 a.m. at the intersection of state Route 39 and County Road 114 in Walnut Creek Township, according to the Wooster Post of the State Highway Patrol.

According to the patrol, Morris, driving a 2011 Chrysler 200, was northbound (within a mile-long north-south stretch) on state Route 39, when she crashed into a horse, pulling a buggy, which had been eastbound on County Road 114 and pulled into her path.

The operator of the buggy, Robert S. Coblentz, 75, and his passenger, Effie Coblentz, 67, both of state Route 93, Sugarcreek, were ejected from the buggy and sustained non-life-threatening injuries. They were transported by emergency personnel from the East Holmes Fire & EMS Co. and the Sugarcreek Fire Department to Pomerene Hospital, where they were treated and released, according to the patrol.

The horse died on contact, said Trooper Ron Allen, noting the collision caused the car to go off the right side of the road, where it struck an embankment. Morris, who was seat belted and trapped inside the car, had to be extricated by mechanical means.

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She was flown via emergency helicopter from the scene to Summa Akron City Hospital, where she died.

Robert Coblentz reported he believed he failed to fully pull up to the stop sign, causing another sign, located further down the road, to obstruct his view of the oncoming car, said Allen.

He was cited for failing to yield from a stop sign, according to Allen, who continues to investigate.

"Motorists are reminded to come to a full and complete stop at all stop signs and take a few extra seconds to ensure it is clear to proceed," according to Post Commander Lt. Stephanie Norman, noting, "Last year, we had a serious issue with failure to yield violations in Holmes and Wayne counties, and we will continue to focus our enforcement efforts in that area."

Once completed, the crash report will be forwarded to the Holmes County Prosecutor's Office for consideration of additional charges related to Morris' death, said Norman, adding no alcohol involvement is suspected.

Morris' death represents the first fatal crash in Holmes County in 2017.

In 2016, there was one fatal crash involving a buggy, according to Norman, adding, 50 percent of the fatal crashes in Holmes County were caused by failure to yield violations.

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


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