Investigation launched after police recover body several hours after crash

7:17 AM, Apr 25, 2006   |    comments
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  • Photos: North Ridgeville crash
  • NORTH RIDGEVILLE -- A joy ride for a group of friends ends in disaster and leads to questions as to why one of the victims went undiscovered for hours after the crash. The car went off the road in North Ridgeville, slamming into a shed. But it’s what happened afterward that has raised questions. The crash ejected all four people from the car, but one of the victim’s bodies wasn’t located until many hours later. Accident victim Lee Ormston was dead for more than 16 hours before North Ridgeville Police discovered his body in a shed on Case Road. “I made myself perfectly clear to a police officer yesterday that I was unhappy,” said property owner Kathy Hales. Hales owns the home and carport where the deadly crash happened. Her grief has now turned to anger. “For something like this to happen was bad enough, but what transpired 15 hours later should have been handled the night before,” she said. When police responded to the crash, they found a mangled Hundai. All of the passengers had been ejected after slamming into a tree and carport. Two of the young victims survived and were rushed to MetroHealth Medical Center. A third young man, Neil Erlenmeyer, was pronounced dead. Why police couldn’t locate Lee Ormston is a question Kathy Hales wants answered. “My dad and a friend were sitting right there on the porch and the body was within five feet of where they were sitting ... my dad said he saw a cop look under the car but not with a flashlight,” she explained. North Ridgeville Mayor G. David Gillock understands the concern. “It’s a double whammy ... automatically first question that comes up ... how does this happen?” he asked. The mayor has called for an internal investigation to find out why it took police so long to find Ormston’s body. “This is sad and tragic,” he says. “We want to take the opportunity to make sure all our procedures are in place and are being followed. I’m sure they are, but due to severity of situation, we want to review it.” What makes this story even more troubling, one of the victims who survived told investigators at the hospital that there were four people in the car and the victim’s family apparently called police, worried that their son had been involved in the crash. Lee Ormston’s body was found underneath an old car that was parked in that carport only a few feet from where the Hundai came to a stop. The coroner says he died on impact. The crash is still under investigation. It’s believed that speed was a factor, but too early to tell if alcohol or drugs were involved.

    The Associated Press

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