September 20, 2014

Elyria
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No charges for tractor driver in fatal wreck

ELYRIA — A Wellington man who was involved in a fatal accident with his tractor will not face criminal charges.
A Lorain County grand jury has chosen not to indict Dean Rollins Jr., 22, who was driving the tractor when the 4,000-pound dirt plow he was hauling clipped the car being driven by 39-year-old Amy Mitchell on April 3.
Mitchell, of New London, died instantly from severe head and neck trauma.
County Prosecutor Dennis Will said an indictment was not likely from the start since there wasn’t enough evidence that Rollins was negligent, which was an essential component for any possible charges. An investigation concluded that Rollins was driving in the westbound lane of state Route 162 in Rochester Township around 12:55 p.m. Mitchell — traveling at the posted 55 mph limit — was heading eastbound in her 1997 Ford Taurus.
The road features a series of small hills and, as the two were about to pass each other over one of them, the 14-foot-wide chisel plow Rollins was hauling shifted into the eastbound lane as Rollins attempted to avoid hitting a mailbox on the north side of the road, according to Lt. Glenn Peterson, post commander of the Elyria post of the Highway Patrol.
The corner of the plow snagged the driver’s side of the Taurus, essentially ripping the entire quarter panel off, Peterson said. The collision did little more to the plow than flatten its tire and pop a dent in its iron frame.
“In that five, maybe 10 seconds, they probably just crested at the same exact moment,” Peterson said. “It was hard for anyone to see.”
Peterson speculated that Mitchell probably saw the top of the tractor, but there was little she could do to avoid the plow as she was coming over the hill.
“It’s a very sad situation,” he said. “It’s sad for the whole family.”
Rollins did not return phone calls seeking comment Tuesday.
Contact Adam Wright at 329-7151 and awright@chroniclet.com.