ELYRIA — Police are investigating whether an 82-year-old man died from injuries after being punched by another man during an alleged road rage incident.
Police said Richard Grove, 82, died at 8:30 a.m. Friday in his home — two days after he was allegedly punched in the ribs by 56-year-old Roger Layne in the parking lot of Apples, 250 N. Abbe Road, around noon Wednesday during a traffic dispute.
Jonathan Montgomery, a witness and employee of Life Care Wheelchair Division, told police he witnessed the incident in which he saw Grove fall to the pavement after he was punched by Layne during an argument.
Grove was treated and released Wednesday from EMH Elyria Regional Medical Center, according to a hospital spokeswoman, and did not return to the hospital.
Lorain County Coroner Stephen Evans said Grove had a variety of health-related issues, so it’s unclear if his injuries led to his death. Evans said he will complete an autopsy, however, given the circumstances of Grove’s death.
“He had a history of a lot of medical problems, so it could have been the medical problems, but it’s awfully coincidental that this happened a couple days (after the alleged attack),” Evans said.
Evans said Grove was cleared by medical staff at EMH, but sometimes injuries flare up later.
Layne was charged with assault Wednesday after he left Apples, and Elyria police Capt. Chris Costantino said police are waiting for the coroner’s ruling to determine if additional charges should be filed against him.
Herb de la Porte, vice president of Life Care, also was at the scene, and told Layne to wait for police to arrive. Layne allegedly told de la Porte to step back or he would “pump four rounds into him.”
Police found Layne in the driveway of 144 Clark St., where he was cutting wood. When asked what happened at Apples, Layne told police, “The guy can’t drive, and told me to f— you.”
He admitted to lunging at Grove but denied punching him.
Evans said Grove’s autopsy should be completed today.
Richard Grove’s widow, Nancy Grove, said her husband was a decent man and a hard worker.
“He loved to golf at Brentwood and Carlisle golf courses and take photos,” Nancy said Friday.
Nancy said her late husband served in the Army from 1948 to 1952.
She said they were married for 28 years and had nine children between them.
“He was an early riser and would take the dog out at6 a.m.,” Nancy said. “He loved shopping and cooking.”
A hearing for Layne’s assault charge is scheduled for Wednesday in Elyria Municipal Court.
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