Biker injured in hit-and-run downtown

Pickup strikes motorcycle then flees scene, leaving biker in road
Sandusky Register Staff
Jun 6, 2013

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A biker was severely injured Thursday morning at Washington Row and Columbus Avenue when a pickup struck him on his motorcycle and then fled the scene. 

Sandusky police and firefighters and Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers responded to the scene shortly before 3 a.m. after a report of a hit-and-run. 

When they arrived, the biker, Robert Rummel, 40, of Palatine, Ill., was lying in the middle of the road on his back, his damaged Harley-Davidson on its side next to him. Two of his fellow bikers stood nearby, clearly distraught.

Paramedics arrived and loaded Rummel onto a stretcher, then into an ambulance bound for Firelands Regional Medical Center. Police said he suffered multiple bone fractures, and he was soon flown by medical helicopter to a hospital in Toledo.  

At the scene, Rummel's fellow bikers told police the pickup was a 1990s model extended cab, either green or blue in color. The truck ran over Rummel and his motorcycle, then backed up, flipping the bike over on its other side. The truck then fled the scene, heading south from Washington Row and Columbus Avenue. 

A short while later, dispatchers received a phone call from a Sandusky woman —  Christina Merlo, 29 — who said she was having a panic attack because she had just been involved in an accident, police said.   

When police arrived at Merlo's Hendry Street home, they found the suspected pickup parked outside.  

Merlo was taken to the hospital, but she was also charged with operating a vehicle under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident — a felony, given the extent of the victim's injuries — and driving under suspension, police said.  

Rummel's fellow bikers also told police they're from the Chicago area.
Officers said they later learned Merlo's friend drove downtown earlier in the night, but Merlo got into an argument with her friend and demanded the keys back. The friend told her, "Good luck when you get your DUI," police said. 



How do you suppose the Bar would be able to watch all of the customers and keep track of designated drivers. Why should it be their responsibility? That is like saying McDonalds is responsible for people who over eat and gain to much weight. How do you know what they had to drink before they came to the bar. What if drugs were involved? The drunks chose to get drunk and drive it is their responsibility. They should have walked to the bar and got drunk. It is always somebody elses's fault.


A bartender can tell when a person has had enough and they should be cut off at that point, maybe even before they get to that point. And as far as keeping track of designated drivers is concerned, if in larger cities they can give DDs a wrist band that will signify to the bartender that that person will not be served alcohol in any way, why can't it be done here? I'm not saying to shift the blame off the drunk driver at all, just that sometimes they aren't alone.


NO, when someone drinks they do not "looose" their ability to be responsible. They know for a FACT that they are DRIVING DRUNK and CHOOSE TO DRIVE DRUNK. ALL DUIs should be FELONIES starting with the first offense. A good start would be PROSECUTORS WITH BALLS. Too often the SLEAZY DRUNK DRIVER who has money to spare hires SCUM DUI DEFENSE LAWYERS whose specialty is getting dangerous drunk drivers slaps on the wrist. Prosecutors need to stand up to these SLEAZY HIRED GUNS and fight back, not give up and agree to plea deals.

MANDATORY 1 YR IN PRISON FOR 2nd and later offenses. DOUBLE the MANDATORY TIME with every additional defense.

DRUNK DRIVERS are THE MOST SELFISH BEINGS ON EARTH. They CHOOSE to endanger lives of all others on the road just to avoid the MINOR INCONVENIENCE of taking a cab and leaving their car.

If someone DIES, it SHOULD BE 2nd DEGREE MURDER, and NOT vehicular homicide.

YES, 2nd DEGREE MURDER. If prosecutors have the balls they can push for 2nd degree murder and get it under the umbrella of DEPRAVED HEART INDIFFERENCE, aka DEPRAVED INDIFFERENCE

It is NEGLIGENCE on STEROIDS. It is doing something SO RECKLESS and DANGEROUS that any "REASONABLE PERSON" (a legal term) would know or should know that DEATH or critical injury would result from their actions.

Taking back keys to KNOWINGLY DRIVE DRUNK even after being warned that they were drunk enough to get a DUI, is, arguably, DEPRAVED INDIFFERENCE to human life and worthy of 2nd DEGREE MURDER IF HE DIES

Licorice Schtick

Nothing does more damage that the attitude that people should be excused for bad behavior caused by their decision to get drunk or high.

A close second is the what the "beverage industry" gets away with. They over-serve with impunity, and they will continue to do so as long as we put up with it.

Erie County Resident

@ TboneWalkerJr,
I agree with you 100% on this.
I also have no tolerance for stupidity and the people that choose to drive drunk should be charged accordingly.
To make another example is driving drunk is just like loading a gun and pulling the trigger. They both have the same result and should have the same penalty.
I carry a gun every day but you don't follow me around counting the bodies, I have more sense than that and use sound judgement.


How is it that she is smiling in her mugshot?




I do not see her on this link. Am I missing something?


yes, her information, charges and picture


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Remarks that discriminate based on age, race, religion, disability, etc..


Sandusky County or Erie County?


Maybe she was treated for her panic attack and given some good drugs?


Wow..I have NO idea!


I agree Mum-of-One,
An adult should have self-control.
Bartenders shouldn't be babysitters to adults.


I agree too, but did anyone catch that she had a suspended license? Why did they even have a license on the truck? If you lose your driver’s license, why wouldn’t they impound the vehicle license too? Make the people responsible and not everyone else. I feel sorry for the people that came from out of town to have a good time, Hope all goes well. Sounds like she will have some time to think about the whole thing


At least we agree on this one. Personal responsibility is lost, everyone looks to blame someone else for their problems/situations.


What? A ten minute walk? Nah...screw that... gimme my damn keys..


The first responders are going to need PTSD counseling after this week. Hope the motorcycle guy is ok in both accidents.


This woman is smiling in her mug shot. She hurt this man and doesn't care?????


I'm not justifying anything she did, but she did call and report. By no means should that excuse anything because she knew she didn't have a license and still chose to drive after drinking. Alot of people in her situation would have ran and stayed quiet, but she clearly had somewhat of a conscience to call and say she was involved in an accident. I hope she does have to pay for what she did! I hope this man recovers!


The "fellow bikers" should have watch after their friend better. I mean really, You're not suppose to drink and ride or drive BUT Many of them do. And the other friend should have never given the keys back to the drunk chick...


That is her fourth DUI, she just got out of court for her third last week!

Free Man
Hoss McGee

She also looks like she hasn't missed a meal

he said she said

My prayers go out to the biker and his family/friends--Bike Week is supposed to be a good, safe time for all.

Noone is responsible for what Merlo did except Merlo. She chose to drink to the point of intoxication, she chose to fight with everyone to get her keys (I hear she is a mean drunk), and she chose to get in her vehicle and drive drunk. It's not the biker's fault he happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Makes me wonder if Merlo ran the four way stop there.

She called the police from home to say that she was having a panic attack because of an accident? Why didn't she just stay there instead of running home? Did she think that the police department would be lenient on her??

Too much stupid juice makes you do stupid things.........


Simple mathematics. Increase the number of motorcycles 100 fold in a specific area and you will have more accidents.

Statistics prove more accidents caused by automobiles in these accidents. Of course alcohol is the biggest factor. Dulls senses and judgement.

Never let my kids own a motorcycle while under my roof. It's not that I didn't trust them but petrified of the 100,000 motorists that are not paying attention in a tourist area.


"Life is tough, but it's alot tougher when you're stupid". I think that woman has to know that clint eastwood quote by now. I hope she receives a lifetime driving suspension for all of this.


I had a talk with my son who just got his driver's license and told him to very careful with all the bikes on the road. Although it is to be a fun week, every year there are accidents and deaths!


Oh how nice, leave someone in the middle of the road because your a drunkin idiot then call police and say your having a panic attack. Yea moron because you straight ran someone over then drove off like oh who cares. My god


Im glad I dont have friends like hers...with friends like that who needs enimes...