Biker injured in hit-and-run

By Laurie Hamame -

A 26-year-old bicyclist was badly hurt early Tuesday by a hit-and-run driver in New Russia Township.

A passing motorist called 911 around 5:58 a.m. to report a damaged bicycle was in the roadway, and an unresponsive male with a large laceration to his head was found in the ditch on Quarry Road just south of Rt. 511, according to state troopers.

The cyclist, identified as Jason Baird of Oberlin, was flown by helicopter to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland with life-threatening injuries. He was traveling south when he was hit by a vehicle.

A 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche believed to be the vehicle involved in the crash was located by troopers from the Elyria post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. They found it in the parking lot of AutoCam Precision Components, 207 West Herrick Ave., Wellington.

The driver was identified as 28-year-old Jonathon Swiers of South Amherst, who as of late Tuesday had not been charged. He was interviewed by investigators from the Office of Criminal Investigations in Cleveland.

The crash remains under investigation. Alcohol or drugs do not appear to be a factor in the crash, troopers said.

Paul Janusiewicz, a resident of Quarry Road for five years, has seen many crashes near the intersection of West Hamilton Street. With no speed limit posting or yield signs, “everybody drives like it’s a drag strip,” he said.

Three months ago, a driver hydroplaned and took out his neighbor’s mailbox. He said that Baird told him two weeks ago that he’d been driven off the road on his bike commute to work, resulting in a shoulder injury.

“It’s scary. The street is filling up with new people moving in and I’m concerned about bikers, dog-walkers, and children,” Janusiewicz said. He hopes the city will post a speed limit sign before another crash happens.

Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.

By Laurie Hamame