Victim not using phone prior to fatal crash on I-75 - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Victim not using phone prior to fatal crash on I-75

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Toledo police have learned more in their investigation of what caused a driver to crash into an Ohio Department of Transportation truck on Interstate 75 Monday.

Ken Harder, 51, of Temperance, MI died early Tuesday from injuries succumbed in the crash. Only one ODOT worker received minor injuries.

The Toledo Police Department said Harder was traveling north and crashed into the back of an ODOT dump truck. Police originally reported Harder was texting while driving and failed to see the ODOT workers or their truck, but that was based on a witness account.

"We did have that eye witness account that he said he definitely had something in his hand, looking to be a phone," said Sgt. Joe Heffernan. "After talking to his family members, they said he did have a phone, so we went back the next day to try to make sure we didn't miss anything initially."

On Tuesday, officers from the Toledo Police Traffic Bureau returned to the scene of the accident to look for the cell phone Harder was reported to have just before the crash occurred. Part of a cell phone was recovered during the follow-up inspection of the site and was handed over to the Toledo Police Computer Crimes Unit for processing.

After some investigation, it was determined the phone did belong to Harder and he was neither talking nor texting when the crash occurred.

Daughter Deanna Harder said she purchased the Safe-Link emergency phone for her father because of his medical conditions. She said the phone did not have texting capability and her father did not know how to text. She said she is glad his name has been cleared.

"He was a good guy and he would never put himself or anyone else in jeopardy driving on the road," she said.

She said she is still trying to wrap her head around the sudden loss of her father.

"It's the worst thing I've ever had to experience in my life," Harder said. "I never thought I would, not this way. You know, I had to see him at the hospital...I'm the only daughter, I had to make all the funeral arrangements...I'm trying to be strong for my grandfather and aunt and doing the best I can."

Toledo Police are still investigating the crash, trying to discover what may have caused it.

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