Grieving family questions Wood Co Sheriff's investigation into deadly bicycle accident

Grieving family questions Wood Co Sheriff's investigation into deadly bicycle accident

WOOD COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - A grieving family is questioning the investigation into a fatal bicycle accident.

The driver of the car that struck Eric Ramlow stopped to try to help and even cooperate with deputies. But Ramlow's family feels the deputies that responded to the accident missed an opportunity to reveal why the it happened.

An early morning ride bike ride with a friend back in January ended with a husband and father of three never coming home.

"We were shocked I thought it would be a long recovery but the next thing we knew it was eminent death," said Meg, wife of Ramlow.

Weeks after the accident, Meg Ramlow got a copy of the investigation report and was shocked to find out the driver, Ernesto Villarreal, had unopened beer in his car, along with beer bottle caps and was not given a breathalyzer.

In the report were several statements from witnesses, claiming Villarreal was intoxicated the night before the crash and his criminal record was full of several traffic violations.

"This would have been a real pivotal moment in law enforcement to take him off the streets," said Meg.

Mark Wasylyshyn, Wood County Sherriff, says he stands behind the deputies who handled the investigations; they legally cannot test someone for drugs or alcohol unless there is evidence.

"He was in the back seat of our patrol car for an hour and a half and numerous time the deputies would open the door and ask him questions and never did they smell any intoxicants or see any signs of intoxication," said Sheriff Wasylyshyn.

As a result of the investigation, Villarreal was charged with Vehicular Manslaughter and Vehicular Homicide – both misdemeanors.

The Wood County Prosecutors Office did look at the case, but was unable to justify charging him with a felony such Aggravated Vehicular Homicide.

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