Truck crashes through fence, keeps going through cemetery

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COSHOCTON, Ohio (WJW) -- Marsha Holderbaum looked over broken and dislodged headstones at the South Lawn Cemetery on Tuesday right next to the stone she and her husband had already purchased for themselves.

"I'm just sad for the families, you know; it could have been prevented," said Holderbaum.

Cemetery personnel say the damage was discovered by grounds crews around 7 a.m. on Monday when the cemetery opened.

It appeared a vehicle crashed through a fence and into a part of the cemetery that was opened in the 1960s.

Damaged headstones are mingled with parts from a damaged truck.

"Looks like he might have got hung up on some of the stones, backed up a little bit and then just kept coming forward knocking stuff over until he got on pavement back in the cemetery," said Public Works Director Kevin Sherier.

Sherier says after assessing the damage crews looked at video from the cemetery's security cameras where they saw a pickup truck pass by the front gates about 3:51 a.m.

Another camera then shows the same truck leaving through the cemetery eight minutes later.

Sherier says after crashing through the fence the truck driver continued on, intentionally plowing over additional headstones in an effort to get away undetected.

"We had a street crew; they was out just looking up and down the alleys, and in about an hour and a half they found him," said Sherier.

Coshocton County Sheriff's Deputy Brian Noe says damage from the front end of the truck that cemetery crews found in a nearby carport matches the damage from the cemetery and when confronted the driver admitted what he did.

Authorities cited Tyler Koch, 22, with failure to control and leaving the scene of an accident.

On Tuesday, the cemetery was still trying to contact family members of those whose headstones were damaged.

"They should have stopped and said something, you know," said John Mcfarland, whose grandparent's headstone was just barely missed as Koch drove through the cemetery.

Sherier said the driver's insurance should pay for the damage which is estimated at about $15,000.

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