Wellington resident killed in fiery crash


A fiery crash on Indian Hollow Road last Thursday ended with the death of a 26-year-old Wellington man.

Joshua Gfell died in the wreck just before midnight when his 2014 Chevrolet Cruze veered off the road and into a ditch, struck a culvert, and hit a driveway abutment.

“That’s probably what sent the car end over end,” Wellington fire chief Mike Wetherbee said, describing how the car flipped and landed on its roof, bursting into flame.

The car came to a halt on a hill in a wooded area about 100 to 150 feet from the road.

Wetherbee said the car was completely engulfed in flames by the time he arrived. Considerable damage to the car revealed it was a high-impact, high-speed crash.

Wetherbee said he isn’t sure how long the car was on fire, but about a dozen firefighters arrived within nine minutes of the call.

“Usually when you get to a crash like that there’s somebody out by the road,” he said. “The occupant either got out of the vehicle and is waiting there for you or you find them out somewhere close to the car. I think we knew when we pulled up something wasn’t right and there could possibly be someone still in the car.”

Wetherbee said it was past the point of any type of rescue by the time his crew arrived.

Gfell was found on the passenger’s side of the car after firefighters doused the flames. It is unknown whether he was wearing a seat belt.

The road was wet and it was raining lightly when firefighters arrived, but Wetherbee isn’t sure whether that contributed to the crash.

Ohio State Highway Patrol dispatcher Diana Coffman said alcohol is suspected to be involved. The incident is still under investigation.

The road was closed for a considerable amount of time while Wetherbee and the other firefighters pulled the car out to be towed away.

Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.