Tuscarawas County deputies find unoccupied flipped UTV with blood, stolen firearm nearby


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A startling discovery was made on Echo Rd S.E. on Thursday, July 20 at approximately 11:46 pm when authorities received a call reporting an overturned side-by-side utility vehicle with blood on its windshield. Deputies from the Sheriff’s Office responded promptly to the scene, but no occupants were present in the vicinity of the vehicle.

Sgt. Phil Valdez and Deputy Michael Fink were the first to respond to the call, initiating efforts to check with nearby hospitals for any potentially injured individuals connected to the incident. However, no reports of injuries related to the crash were found.

During the investigation, deputies came across a firearm near the utility vehicle, raising concerns about the well-being of the driver who may have sustained serious injuries. In response, Deputy Chris Edwards deployed his K-9 companion, “Rocky,” to search for the driver in case they had wandered away and were in need of assistance. Despite their thorough search, no individuals were found. Instead, Rocky uncovered another firearm and a backpack, both located at a significant distance from the flipped vehicle.

Further investigation revealed that the firearm discovered by Rocky had been reported as stolen from a residence on River Hill Road, Port Washington. Additionally, a bag and some clothing found at the scene were collected as potential evidence.

Sgt. Ryan Hamilton, an evidence technician, was called in to document the scene and gather blood evidence, while Det. Sgt. Ed Jones joined the efforts to support and contribute to the ongoing investigation.

As of now, the incident remains under active investigation. Anyone with pertinent information is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 330-339-2000.