July 31, 2014

Elyria
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Coroner: Medical reason may have led to fatal crash

BROWNHELM TWP. — A 62-year-old Vermilion man who died in a one-vehicle crash on North Ridge Road Wednesday morning may have been unconscious when he struck a tree at speeds estimated to be 85 to 90 mph.

Michael A. Reighley was pronounced dead at the scene by Lorain County Coroner Dr. Stephen Evans.

“Our initial suspicion is that there was another event that occurred that caused him to leave the road,” Evans said. “He may have had a heart attack or seizure that caused him to lose consciousness.”

Evans said Reighley was not driving in an area marked by curves or sharp turns that might have contributed to an accident.

“It was a straight shot of road,” Evans said. “There is no evidence that he was swerving or put on the brakes. We believe he was unconscious when he left the road.”

Reighley was alone in a white 2004 Chevy Z71 pickup when the fatal crash occurred at 9:33 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Elyria post of the Ohio Highway Patrol, which is investigating the accident.

Reighley was eastbound on North Ridge Road a short distance west of Gore Orphanage Road when he drove off the right side of the road and struck a tree, according to the patrol.

The pickup sustained heavy damage, and Reighley was not wearing a seat belt.

Evans explained that in crashes where a driver experiences a heart attack or seizure, the event can lead to “spasms in the foot which then push the gas pedal down, and they end up going very fast.”

Reighley lived on North Ridge Road not far from the scene of the crash, Evans said.

An autopsy was to be performed today.

Reighley is survived by his wife and adult children, including a son and several daughters, Evans said.

A niece of Reighley who resides in Wellington declined comment.

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