A 17-year-old Port Clinton student died in a head-on collision Christmas Eve while on his way to wrestling practice.
As Jonathan T. Pope lay dead in his truck on Ohio 53, his dad, the high school wrestling coach, awaited his star wrestler's arrival.
Jonathan died instantly upon impact with a dark blue 1999 Dodge Dakota. Troopers said the Dakota, driven by 73-year-old Omer F. Swartz Jr., swerved into the teen's lane while trying to pass a student driver headed south on Ohio 53. Jonathan was driving north at about 9 a.m. when the two trucks intersected.
The impact collapsed the front end of the young man's black 1988 Chevrolet S10. The steering wheel bent into the seat. Broken metal, plastic and other debris scattered on the road.
Covered in a white sheet, Jonathan's body was taken away by Neidecker, LeVeck and Crosser funeral home.
Swartz's truck, emblazoned with Support Our Troops stickers and an American flag, also sustained severe front-end damage. A tire came to rest in a nearby yard.
A medical helicopter took Swartz to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, where he remained in fair condition Thursday afternoon.
The student driver of the car Swartz tried to get past knew Jonathan and was permitted to leave the scene of the crash because of her emotional state, said Trooper Chris Capizzi of the Sandusky post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. He later collected her statement.
Mark Segaard heard the impact of the collision from his home. The trucks came to a rest adjacent to his home in this residential area dotted with farm fields.
"I heard a crunk and a scrap and I called 911," Segaard said. "It was pretty bad."
The force of the collision pushed the trucks 80 feet from the impact point, indicated by groves cut into the asphalt by the power train and engine block of Jonathan's truck.
The crash remains under investigation and no charges have been filed.
Football coach Toby Hammond remembered Jonathan as a great kid who will be sorely missed.
School officials told Hammond about the teen's death and Thursday afternoon he drove to the family's 216 E. Seventh St. home to offer support.
"Right now you're just too shocked to think," he said. "He always had a great smile. He liked to joke."
Hammond coached Jonathan in football and also taught a class in which the boy earned A's.
Just the night before Jonathan and his father, Thomas Pope, celebrated the teen's win of his wrestling match.
"He was a great kid. He worked hard for his coaches. He worked hard in everything he did," said athletic director Carey Clum. "He handled himself like a gentleman should."