Coroner: Boater killed by crash impact on Sandusky Bay

SANDUSKY The 21-year-old man who was killed in a boat crash June 14 on Sandusky Bay appears to have
Cory Frolik
May 24, 2010



The 21-year-old man who was killed in a boat crash June 14 on Sandusky Bay appears to have died from multipleinjuries, a preliminary autopsy found.

Ben Miller suffered blunt-forceinjuries of the chest and abdomen.

Erie County coroner Brian Baxter said his preliminary autopsy suggests all of Miller's injuries were from impact trauma.

Authorities said Miller was piloting a 21-foot Sea Ray carrying three friends and was thrown overboard during the crash, which occurred shortly after midnight June 14.

His body was found about 100 yards off the rocky shoreline of Lyman Harbor on the afternoon of June 16.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft said it would not have a final accident report complete until next week at the earliest.

According to John Wisse, ODNR spokesman, Miller was driving the boat back to Lyman Harbor when he evidently struck a 41-foot Formula. The extensive damage to the bow of the Sea Ray suggests it struck the Formula while the boats were crossing paths, Wisse said.

The Formula was driven by local auto dealer Phil Steinle Jr., 53, and carried one passenger -- Rachel Forester, 28. The Formula left the area after Steinle and Forester could not locate the boat they hit, said John Johnston, Division of Watercraft investigator. They headed to the Venetian Marina, where the Formula sank. Steinle took Forester to the hospital for an injury to her leg.

The Sea Ray stayed out in the bay until authorities were able to tow it to Lyman Harbor. Aboard the boat were Kevin Lake, 23, of Norwalk, Emily Jones, 27, of Norwalk, and Ashley Franklin, 23, of Huron.

Franklin, who suffered head trauma and other injuries, was listed in critical condition at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center in Toledo. A spokeswoman for the hospital said she was discharged Wednesday.

Baxter said the toxicology and microbe tests on Miller are not complete. Until he finishes a full autopsy, Baxter will not be able to say with certainty what killed the young man.