Soldier dies in motorcycle crash

A member of the military who was in a group that had participated in training Saturday was killed in a motorcycle accident on SR 53, north of Tiffin, that evening.

State Highway Patrol identified him as Kurtis L. Morgan, 22, of Seaman. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, which occurred in the 5000 block of North SR 53.

Sgt. Angel Burgos of the Fremont post of State Highway Patrol said a row of traffic was northbound on SR 53. It was unknown why a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee was slowing or stopped. Initially, he said, officials thought a vehicle could have been turning into a private drive, but witnesses said traffic was moving slowly, and it appeared the Jeep had slowed.

Morgan was driving a 2007 Harley-Davidson Softail motorcycle northbound and failed to maintain assured clear distance, according to State Highway Patrol.

Burgos said he did not think Morgan realized the sport utility vehicle was slowing and could not get stopped in time. The motorcycle struck the left rear corner of the Jeep, he said.

Morgan was thrown from the vehicle into the southbound lane of the highway where he was struck by a 2012 Ford F-150 truck that was southbound on SR 53.

State Highway Patrol identified the driver of the SUV as Joseph A. Cunningham, 20, of Toledo, and the driver of the truck as Paul P. Madura Jr., 58, of New Jersey.

They were wearing seatbelts and were not injured, according to State Highway Patrol. Morgan was not wearing a helmet. It did not appear that alcohol was a factor, Burgos said.

Burgos said Morgan and Cunningham were wearing military uniforms. He said he did not know what branch Morgan was in or what platoon he belonged to. The group had completed some type of exercise Saturday and was done for the day, he said.

Other men wearing military uniforms gathered at the scene.

Personnel from Bettsville EMS, the county’s Echo unit, Ohio Department of Transportation, Old Fort Volunteer Fire Department, Seneca County Sheriff’s Office and State Highway Patrol assisted at the scene of the Pleasant Township crash. It occurred around 6:45 p.m. Saturday and was under investigation.