NORTH RIDGEVILLE – A man who died Monday night after driving his SUV through a field and striking a tree may have had a medical problem or been impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Brian Rummel, 49, of North Ridgeville, was pronounced dead at the scene from multiple injuries of the head, chest and neck, according to Lorain County Coroner Dr. Stephen Evans.
“Bystanders said he was driving erratically beforehand, which indicates he may have had medical problems, or substance issues, which could also do that,” Evans said.
Rummel was alone in the vehicle.
One person who was following Rummel on state Route 83 (Avon-Belden Road) told police the man’s northbound Kia SUV appeared to have been weaving slightly before going off the road between Atlantic and Dorchester avenues.
“It was kind of a strange accident in that there appeared to be no braking or evasive measures taken to swerve back onto the road,” North Ridgeville Police Capt. Marti Garrow said. “He traveled a straight line for quite a distance through a field, which would have likely woken him if he had fallen asleep. There’s a good chance it was something medical.”
After traveling through the open field, Rummel’s vehicle came to an inclined driveway which sent the SUV airborne before landing on its roof, Garrow said.
The vehicle came to rest about 15 yards from a home in the 5400 block of Avon-Belden Road.
A neighbor said police found Rummel lying partially outside the vehicle. It was not immediately known whether he was wearing a seatbelt.
Police are also investigating whether Rummel may have been speeding.
“He may have been speeding but we’re not sure to what extent,” Garrow said. “It doesn’t appear to have been anything really fast or reckless.”
There is a 45 mph speed limit in the area.
The fatal crash occurred about 7:50 p.m. and led to shutting down Routes 83 and 20 for about two hours.
Police Lt. Vince Abt said Rummel had a daughter who resided in the area but she had not yet been contacted by police.
Rummel’s parents, who live in another state, met with police Tuesday, Abt said.
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.