HOWLAND - Putting the pieces together in the death of pedestrian Antoinette Ross, who was struck by a vehicle on King Graves Road overnight between Sunday and Monday, is still a work in progress, according to police.
Police were first called to the road about 9:52 p.m. Sunday for a report of a maroon Honda CR-V SUV going into the ditch just east of Howland Wilson Road, according to the Trumbull County dispatch center.
They returned to the area a second time Monday morning when local trash collector Joe Giancola discovered Ross's body in the ditch and called for help.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol has said that they believe Ross, 55, of Hunt Club Trail in Howland, was hit by a vehicle between 9 p.m. Sunday and 8 a.m. Monday.
Connecting the two incidents has only come about recently when Howland turned over their Sunday night report to the OSHP, which is now taking care of both.
"We're handling the whole thing as one incident, one big investigation," patrol Sgt. Jeff Klem.
Klem said the investigation is still ongoing and was unable to specify whether the SUV crash originally responded to by Howland police was involved in Ross' death or whether a second accident caused the fatality.
"It will take some time for forensics to get back to us," Klem said.
Copies of the original Sunday night crash report have not been made available. Attempts by Tribune Chronicle reporters to get the Howland reports were futile both Wednesday and Thursday. The Howland police records department was unaware if a report had been filed Wednesday, as it did not appear in their computer system. Thursday attempts turned up the similar results, with the response that all the reports were turned over to the state patrol.
Police Chief Paul Monroe was unavailable for comment Wednesday and off work Thursday. Messages left for him went unanswered.
An inability to definitively link or disconnect the events has some residents asking questions.
Three hours prior to the later crash, Bill Peters of Howland was in a car accident on Shaffer Drive near Howland High School when, he said, another vehicle backed out of a business driveway and cracked the back panel of his car. The driver of the second vehicle claims that Peters swerved into the rear of his vehicle.
The police report notes the stories of both drivers and does not place blame.
"The police were hurrying through it, and the alarming thing is, three hours later they leave an accident where a lady was killed," Peters said.
Giancola, who found the body, previously stated he too would like to have questions answered and said he wonders if police overlooked Ross while at the scene late Sunday.
The Trumbull County Coroner's Office is also waiting on toxicology results to be returned in six to eight weeks before releasing Ross' cause of death.