July 22, 2014

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Boy struck by Jeep was likely going to see his grandparents

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — A boy injured Wednesday after being struck by a Jeep in front of North Ridgeville Middle School is believed to have been on his way to his grandparents’ home when the accident occurred.

Damian Ashcraft, 11, a student at the school, was rushed to Fairview Hospital in Cleveland with unspecified injuries. Information on his condition was not available.

Police have not yet determined whether Ashcraft was in a crosswalk in front of the school when he was struck by a Jeep driven by Ray Hoskins, 58, of North Ridgeville. The accident occurred about 5:35 p.m.

The boy’s grandparents live near the school on the opposite side of Center Ridge Road. Police aren’t certain whether the boy’s parents live there, too.

The boy was walking north when he was hit in the road by the eastbound vehicle.

“I’m formulating some theories (about the cause of the accident) but it’s going to take some time,” North Ridgeville police Patrolman Kevin Phillips said. “I’m waiting to talk with the boy and the driver again as well as any possible witnesses.”

Despite speculation by many that the boy was crossing the city’s busiest thoroughfare to go to a new fast-food restaurant, police do not believe that was the case.

“That’s been everyone’s initial assumption as soon as they hear about this crash,” Phillips said. “From all accounts and the people we’ve talked with, he was not on his way to McDonald’s. That was not a factor.”

Police also do not think speed was a factor, due in part to the typically heavy traffic in the area as traffic tends to back up near the intersection of Center Ridge and state Route 83 a few hundred feet west of the school.

It was also raining steadily at the time of the accident, which occurred about dusk. Those conditions may have affected visibility in the area, police said.

Initial conversations with Hoskins indicated the man did not see Ashcraft.

“Another officer talked with him at the scene, and he apparently said he saw orange barrels (set up in the area where roadwork was being done), but he did not see the pedestrian,” Phillips said.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.