Fatal accident

An Edinburg man was killed and his friend was critically injured when their two sport quads collided Tuesday evening in a wooded area of Wayne Township.

It was the second ATV accident that occurred in two days on land that lies at the Shenango/Wayne township border, near the CEMEX property. A man also was critically injured in the first accident, which occurred around 1:10 a.m. Monday just within Shenango Township.

Willliam Lee Rodgers, 33, of Edinburg, was pronounced dead at the scene in Tuesday’s head-on collision after he was thrown from his vehicle about 35 feet, according to information from Lawrence County Coroner Rich Johnson. The accident occurred around 8 p.m. near Tony Ditka Road, about a mile off of River Road. 

Rodgers and his friend, Steven Williams, 33, of New Castle, were riding with other friends when the two collided, according to reports.

Williams was flown to St. Elizabeth’s Youngstown Hospital. According to a family member’s Facebook post, he suffered broken ribs, leg and back and has a severe head injury. The post said he is expected to undergo surgery.

Johnson said Rodgers was not wearing a helmet and apparently died from blunt force trauma to the head. No autopsy will be performed, although a toxicology test will be done as a standard procedure for a fatal accident, he said.

Johnson said he learned from a family member of Rodgers at the scene that the two men were with a group of friends, all of whom were riding ATVs. They had stopped to gather for a while, and were getting ready to go again when Rodgers and Williams started out first on a straightaway, which is when the accident occurred, he said. He believes that speed had a role in the collision. He said their friends reported hearing a crash, then found the two men.

“They were riding fast and the quads got tangled up together,” Johnson said. He said Rodgers was knocked unconscious at first with a head injury. Several friends at the scene tried to perform CPR, but it was unsuccessful. 

Johnson said Rodgers was wearing full riding gear, but he was not wearing a helmet. Police from Wayne Township, Wampum Borough, Bessemer and Shenango Township responded, along with members of the Shenango Area Fire District and Noga and Stat Medevac.

Shenango Township police chief Darrin Cwynar said at first, the responding agencies were unclear as to which municipality the second accident occurred in.

In Monday’s accident, the driver was going down a hill around 1:10 a.m. when his ATV wrecked and his helmet flew off and he suffered head injuries. A Shenango Township officer who responded would not release his identity or any other information about the rider yesterday.


Debbie's been a journalist at the New Castle News since 1978, and covers county government, police and fire, New Castle schools, environment and various other realms. She also writes features, takes photos and video and copy edits.

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