GRAND RAPIDS — A truck driver who crashed into a village home was found dead in the Maumee River a few hours after the incident.
Maurice Watson, 45, of Edna, Minnesota, crashed into the home at 23970 Second St. around 8 this morning, then fled the scene, according to the Wood County Sheriff’s Office.
After a search of the Grand Rapids area, Watson was found dead in the river, according to the sheriff’s office.
The truck was reportedly eastbound on Second Street when it drove through the intersection of Wapakoneta Road and crashed into and through a two-story, 3,300-square-foot home at the the northeast corner of Second Street, just east of the railroad tracks.
The homeowner, Shaun Downey, was in the home, along with his daughter, her son and a friend.
“I heard a couple loud bangs. I think the bangs were him going over the tracks. He hit my truck, which was parked in the driveway where his wheels are at now,” said Downey, who was upstairs.
“Then I felt the house shake and continue to shake for probably half a second or so as he drove through it.”
He said just moments before, there was someone in the room that took brunt of the crash.
“Luckily, everybody made it out OK,” Downey said.
They remodeled the home in 2001, Downey said. The renovation was essentially putting a new house inside the old bones of the home, and the walls are about a foot thick, he said.
“I was just amazed at how it was able to go through the whole entire bottom of the house,” Downey said.
“It’s not every day that you’ve got a 53-foot semi go from the southwest corner all the way to the northeast corner,” he said. “It literally made it through the whole downstairs of the house.”
Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn said one of his deputies found the body floating in the river downstream of the bridge around 11:30.
His office had dispatched a drone, and K-9 units with the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and Ohio State Highway Patrol also were utilized.
He said the trucking company Watson was driving for had lost contact with him Tuesday.
“They said he went off route yesterday and they were attempting to get a hold of him and he wasn’t responding,” Wasylyshyn said.
They had no idea what his destination was, he added.
“The trucking company knew he was not where he was supposed to be,” Wasylyshyn said.
Grand Rapids Township Fire Department, EMS and water rescue team, along with Wright’s Tire and Auto, also were at the scene.
The Wood County Coroner was called to the scene and the investigation is ongoing.
(Sentinel-Tribune multi-media journalist J.D. Pooley and education editor Marie Thomas-Baird did the interviews for this story.)