State Route 65 Accident - Putnam Sentinel
Emergency personnel work to extricate Joan Tobe, Ottawa, from her vehicle late Tuesday morning.

PLEASANT TWP — Distracted driving was the cause of a two-vehicle crash on State Route 65 late Tuesday morning.

Aaron Powell, 18, Ottawa, was traveling north on State Route 65 when he went left of center between Roads N-8 and O, striking a southbound vehicle driven by Joan Tobe, 84, Ottawa.

According to a statement provided by Powell, the teen was checking his cell phone to determine if he was going in the right direction when he veered into oncoming traffic.

The impact of the crash spun Powell’s vehicle off the west side of the roadway and down an embankment, where it came to rest in a more or less northerly direction. Tobe’s vehicle was likewise spun by the crash and came to rest on the bridge spanning Cranberry Creek, facing south.

Emergency personnel were able to extricate an unnamed passenger in Tobe’s vehicle within minutes of their arrival. However, it took nearly an hour to carve the car away from Tobe.

Both Tobe and her passenger were transported via ambulance to St. Rita’s Medical Center, Lima, for treatment. Powell and a second passenger in Tobe’s vehicle were uninjured.

Assisting at the scene were Ottawa Heavy Rescue, the Columbus Grove Fire Department, Columbus Grove EMS, Ottawa EMS, Putnam County EMS and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. Employees of the Ohio Department of Transportation were also on the scene.

The accident closed both lanes of SR 65 for approximately 90 minutes.