Berlin Heights woman charged in fatal crash
Jan 27, 2013 at 1:00 PM
Almost nine months after a fatal motorcycle wreck on Ohio 60, State Highway Patrol troopers arrested a Berlin Heights woman who was allegedly texting just before the collision.
Rebecca Schroyer, 22, was charged with tampering with evidence and aggravated vehicular homicide — both felonies.
Paul Hering, 61, was headed home on his 1987 Harley-Davidson after his morning cup of coffee at about 10:30 a.m. May 16. In the 3800 block of Ohio 60 he slowed to turn into his driveway.
That’s when Schroyer’s PT Cruiser smashed into the back of the Harley. The force of impact catapulted Hering off his motorcycle. His body came to rest about 90 feet to the south of the wreck.
When troopers showed up Hering was dead and the motorcycle was still standing upright — it’s rear-end embedded in the front of the PT Cruiser.
Skid marks on the scene showed the Cruiser pushed the motorcycle about 90 feet after impact.
When troopers talked to Schroyer she told them she’d been texting on her cellphone previous to the wreck, Patrol Sgt. Eric Short said.
“In her statement she admitted to us that she deleted information from her phone,” Short said.
A phone company later confirmed text messages had been deleted.
Troopers seized Schroyer’s phone and sent it to Ohio State Highway Patrol headquarters in Columbus for analysis.
For months, Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Joe Wentworth went round and round with phone companies and forensic techs in an attempt to retrieve the messages but didn’t get far.
“We’ve been in conversation with the victim’s family,” Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Eric Short said. “It got to the point that we had to get something going.”
Troopers discussed charges with Vermilion Municipal Court prosecutor Margaret O’Bryon. Both parties agreed between Schroyer’s statement and the deleted text messages they had enough for charges.
Schroyer was booked into the Erie County jail Thursday but later posted $26,000 bond and was released.
The investigation remains open and troopers still hope to recover text messages from the phone, which is still in an evidence bag somewhere in Columbus.