The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Jun. 24, 2022

Wapak woman killed, 4 critical in crash

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

WILLSHIRE — A Wapakoneta woman was killed and four others injured in a two-car accident that occurred on Ohio 81 near Willshire at approximately 11:45 a.m. Sunday.

Investigators from the Van Wert County Sheriff's Office are at the scene of a two-car accident in which a Wapakoneta woman was killed and four others injured. photo by Rick McCoy for the Van Wert independent
Investigators from the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office are at the scene of a two-car accident in which a Wapakoneta woman was killed and four others injured. photo by Rick McCoy for the Van Wert independent

According to Van Wert County Sheriff Thomas M. Riggenbach, Joyce Schlenker, 57, of Wapakoneta, was pronounced dead at the scene by Van Wert County Coroner Dr. Scott Jarvis. She was taken to Van Wert County Hospital by Wren EMS.

According to the sheriff, Ms. Schlenker was a passenger in a 2009 Volkswagen EOS convertible driven by Michael Schlenker, 67, also of Wapakoneta. Mr. Schlenker was life-flighted from the scene by Lutheran Air  to Lutheran Hospital of Indiana in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Sheriff Riggenbach said he was listed in critical condition this evening.

Stephanie Wysong, 43, of Willshire, was driving the other vehicle involved in the crash, a 2012 Honda Civic. She was transported to Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne by Mercy Health Life Flight, while two children, a boy age 12 and a boy age 7, who are both as yet not officially identified, were passengers in the Honda.

The boys were transported to Parkview by Samaritan helicopter. Ms. Wysong and the boys are also listed in critical condition.

A deputy from the Van Wert County Sheriff's Office uses a laser system to reconstruct the scene of an accident that occurred Sunday morning on Ohio 81 near Willshire. (VWSO photo)
A deputy from the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office uses a laser system to reconstruct the scene of an accident that occurred Sunday morning on Ohio 81 near Willshire. (VWSO photo)

According to Sheriff Riggenbach, it has not yet been confirmed which direction each vehicle was going on Ohio 81, between the intersections of Willshire-Eastern Road and Ohio 49, and also said investigators were saying at this point that one vehicle likely crossed the centerline and hit the other vehicle head-on.

“Nothing is definitive, but based on what we saw at the scene, we believe one of the vehicles was left-of-center and caused the head-on collision,” Sheriff Riggenbach said. “but anything more than that, at this point, is speculation, because we still have a lot of information to try to gather and process as we try to put this together.”

The sheriff said investigating deputies will be doing a crash reconstruction using a recently-acquired laser system to plot out vehicle position and other details of the accident before a full accident report is issued. The system was also used to process a Middle Point shooting scene on April 25.

Both vehicles were heavily damaged as a result of the accident. The Honda Civic came to rest on the roadway, while the Volkswagen ended up in a yard beside the highway.

Both drivers and all passengers were wearing seatbelt at the time of the crash, and alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash. Sheriff Riggenbach said the accident investigation is continuing.

Also assisting at the scene were Wren Fire and EMS, Willshire Fire Department, Convoy, Ohio City, Rockford, and Van Wert EMS squads, and 2A’s Auto in Convoy.

Here is another, larger photo of the fatal accident scene taken by Van Wert County Emergency Management Director Rick McCoy.

Here is another, larger photo of the Ohio 81 fatal accident scene taken by Van Wert County Emergency Management Director Rick McCoy.

POSTED: 05/15/17 at 7:25 am. FILED UNDER: News