Friday, November 21, 2003

Man dies crossing Ohio Pike

Mexican national struck by police cruiser

By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WITHAMSVILLE - Juan Pastor Tenorio Eslava came to the Tristate to do what countless others of his countrymen have done: earn a living so he could make things better for his family in Mexico.

He'd worked at a restaurant near his home in the Maple Glen apartment complex along Ohio Pike (Ohio 125), but decided to change jobs. On Monday, he started a new job as a dishwasher at Rincon Mexicano Restaurant in Eastgate.

Eslava, whose wife and three children live in Magdalena Contreras, a borough of Mexico City, didn't have a phone. But a pay phone was a short distance from his apartment, just across Ohio Pike outside a Walgreens store.

Late Wednesday, the 42-year-old Mexican national took his regular walk to make a call.

But crossing the street to make that phone call cost him his life.

Witnesses told investigators with the Ohio State Highway Patrol that Eslava was standing in the middle of Ohio Pike when a westbound Union Township police cruiser struck him.

He was taken to Mercy Hospital Anderson, where he was pronounced dead, officials said.

Union Township Police Officer Shane Thompson, 24, was placed on paid administrative leave Thursday pending the outcome of an investigation.

Thompson has been on the force for seven months, officials said, adding that he was shaken by the accident.

It occurred near Ohio Pike's intersection with Britton Boulevard and Mount Moriah Drive in Withamsville shortly before 11 p.m.

The area has few streetlights, even fewer sidewalks and no crosswalks.

Investigators spent much of Thursday trying to determine Eslava's identity, said Highway Patrol Lt. Paul Hermes. Matters were complicated because of language barriers.

But officials eventually identified Eslava with the help of his nephew, one of two relatives he has in this area, Hermes said.

It was the 26th fatality resulting from a motor vehicle accident and the third pedestrian fatality in 2003 in Clermont County.


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