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Ohio college student killed when tree falls on car she was riding in, sheriff says

University of Mount Union freshman and soccer goalkeeper Sydney Kleptach, 18, was killed when a tree smashed the car she was a passenger in.
University of Mount Union freshman and soccer goalkeeper Sydney Kleptach, 18, was killed when a tree smashed the car she was a passenger in. @purpleraiders/Twitter

College goalkeeper Sydney Kleptach and her father were traveling in Ohio when a tree fell on the car her dad was driving, the Stark County Sheriff’s Office said, according to WKYC.

The tree smashed the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu as it was moving, which is not common, said Major C.J. Stantz with the sheriff’s office, according to the Canton Repository.

“You’re going 35, 40 miles per hour,” the newspaper quoted Stantz as saying. “A few seconds before, a few seconds later” could have changed whether they were struck by the falling tree, the report said.

After the tree fell at about 4:15 p.m. Sunday in Plain Township, Ohio, 18-year-old Kleptach and her father, Brian, were taken to a hospital, the Canton Repository reported.

Sydney Kleptach died at the hospital on Monday, FOX8 reported, and her dad was seriously injured.

The weather was likely a factor in the incident, the Canton Repository reported.

“We had all that rain, it soaked the ground,” Stantz said, according to the newspaper. “And we had some wind. Sometimes that topples trees over.”

Kleptach was a freshman and student-athlete at the University of Mount Union, according to a release from the Division III women’s soccer team. She was studying biology and french.

“We are very saddened by the sudden loss of freshman Sydney Kleptach, a beloved member of the Mount Union family,” the university said in a statement.

Plain Local Superintendent Brent May said in the statement that Kleptach logged 900 hours of community service before she graduated from GlenOak High School in Canton.

“She will be remembered as someone who touched the lives of many,” May said in the release. “Hopefully, we can learn from her as we move forward. Everybody has value, and she demonstrated that all the time. No matter who you are or where you live or how much money your family makes, everybody has value. That’s the message, hopefully in her memory, (Plain Local) can carry forward.”

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