Updated Thu, Nov 7, 2013 8:54 am
The story of what happened to a man found severely injured along the side of Route 50 is unfolding, according to the State Highway Patrol.
Jeffrey Root, 22, of Coolville, was found Saturday on the side of the road in what troopers were told was a pedestrian versus semi truck collision.
As it turns out, the driver of the semi that was parked near Root had stopped to check on the man who had been seen by the side of the road as the truck driver passed by.
“The injuries didn’t look like injuries one would sustain by being hit by a semi,” said Lt. George Harlow, public information officer for the State Highway Patrol’s Athens post.
Root was flown by MedFlight to Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, where he is still being treated and is in serious condition, according to Harlow.
Troopers attempted to gather evidence at the scene, but there wasn’t much to collect, Harlow said. Root’s clothing was sent for laboratory testing and a search began for an unknown vehicle.
After troopers left the scene, they made contact with Root’s father, Robert, who gave them information about who Root had been with that night.
The following day, Thomas Jordan, 19, of Coolville, came to the post, telling troopers he “knew we were looking for him,” Harlow said. The patrol had not released a name in the investigation.
Jordan told investigators he was driving a 2005 Chevy two-door vehicle on Saturday with Root in the passenger seat. He said he and Root had gone out that evening.
“He told us he was going about 65 miles an hour (on Route 50) when Mr. Root said he was going to do something crazy,” Harlow said.
Root then opened the passenger door, held on to the door handle, and dangled his feet outside the vehicle. The doorhandle then broke off and Root fell onto the pavement, Jordan told troopers.
Alcohol is suspected to be a factor in the case and the Ohio Investigative Unit’s Athens office is assisting investigators to find out whether alcohol was sold to the two men and where, if at all, they had consumed the alcohol.
“Criminal charges are pending contact with the prosecutor’s office,” Harlow said, noting that charges could be faced by Jordan, Root, or both, depending on what the prosecutor’s office decides.
“It’s an unfortunate situation where bad judgment led to severe consequences,” Harlow said.