Driver indicted in fatal buggy crash

By Jim Painter - For the Sidney Daily News



SIDNEY — On Thursday, May 10, the Shelby County grand jury indicted Steven E. Hunter, 43, of Sidney, on five charges in connection with the vehicular death of a Maplewood woman and the injuring of three members of her family last month.

Hunter is charged with one count of aggravated vehicular homicide, a first-degree felony; three counts of aggravated vehicular assault, all second-degree felonies; and one count of not stopping after an accident, a second-degree felony. The indictment notes Hunter was allegedly driving impaired when the accident occurred.

He remains incarcerated at the Shelby County Jail on a $75,000 bond. He will be arraigned at 10 a.m., Thursday, May 17, before Shelby County Common Pleas Court Judge James Stevenson.

Hunter is accused of being the driver of a truck that collided with a horse-drawn buggy along the 22000 block of state Route 47 at the Logan-Shelby County line, April 20. Several law enforcement reports claim Hunter was behind the wheel at the time of the accident.

At 8:40 p.m., the Logan County Sheriff’s Department received a call that a 1998 Chevrolet Suburban had struck a buggy being used by an Amish family. Authorities reportedly found Sarah Schwartz, 23, dead at the scene.

Her husband, Henry, 26, and their children, Elmer, 18 months, and Ester, four months, were injured. The children were taken by CareFlight to a Dayton hospital. Mr. Schwartz was first taken to Wilson Health, then transported to a Dayton hospital.

According to online court records, Logan County Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Wood found Sarah lying in the roadway deceased among the debris when he first arrived at the scene. His report also indicates he found Henry lying facedown in a ditch near Elmer. A bystander was holding Ester while seated in a ditch.

Wood indicated that once the family was receiving medical care, he began searching for the driver of the Suburban. A witness told authorities the driver, allegedly Hunter, had attempted to drive the Suburban out of the ditch, but was unable to do so.

The witness claims he spoke to the driver who allegedly told him authorities had already been contacted, so the witness wouldn’t need to do so. However, the driver was not at the scene of the accident.

A short time later, deputies confirmed the truck was registered to Hunter, along with identifying material inside the vehicle. With several officers looking for Hunter, he was found in a nearby cornfield, running from authorities. Once taken into custody, Hunter allegedly began yelling that someone had stolen his truck.

Deputies noted they reportedly found a strong odor of alcohol on Hunter. Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputy Frank Bleigh noted in his report that Hunter’s driver’s license was suspended due to two convictions for operating a motor vehicle while impaired within the past six years.

Wood explained in the report that the buggy was properly lit for the trip.


By Jim Painter

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.