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UPDATE--Traffic fatality in Maumee closes U.S. 23

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UPDATE--Traffic fatality in Maumee closes U.S. 23

Post by bluegill on January 13th 2010, 10:03 am

A pedestrian fatality that shut down southbound U.S. 23 for two hours Tuesday night between Dussel Drive and State Rt. 20A in Maumee is being investigated as a suicide, authorities said.

Details of the incident, which occurred about 6 p.m., were sketchy. An unidentified woman apparently tried to kill herself by wrecking her vehicle and was not successful. She then ran into the highway and was hit by a tractor-trailer, said Dr. James Patrick, Lucas County coroner.

Maumee police would not disclose details last night.


Woman who killed self on U.S. 23 is identified
Ottawa Hills resident ran Montessori school
By CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A woman who killed herself on southbound U.S. 23 Tuesday in rush-hour traffic in Maumee, shutting down part of the highway for two hours, has been identified as Lydia S. DiDio, 75, of Ottawa Hills, the former longtime owner-operator of Toledo Montessori Day School.

The incident occurred just before 5:30 p.m. between Salisbury Road and U.S. 20A.

Maumee police said Mrs. DiDio left her car after deliberately crashing it into a tractor-trailer and walked back and forth across the highway in front of traffic in an effort to be struck by vehicles.

But traffic slowed and stopped and avoided hitting her, so she approached a tractor-trailer.

The driver told police he had slowed his rig after seeing Mrs. DiDio lying in the roadway.

The trucker, William Race, 48, of DeWitt, Mich., told Maumee officers the woman appeared at the side of his cab and disappeared, and he thought his rig had passed her so he drove forward.
In fact, she had thrown herself beneath the rear drive wheels of the rig's tractor.


Mrs. DiDio was pronounced dead at the scene by Maumee EMS. She died of multiple blunt trauma, according to Dr. Diane Barnett, deputy Lucas County coroner.

Less than 15 minutes before

Mrs. DiDio's death, Ottawa Hills police had sent an alert to county law enforcement agencies that she was missing and suicidal.

They did this after arriving at Mrs. DiDio's Hasty Road home to check on the safety of a person reported to be suicidal and learning that she had just left in a neighbor's borrowed car.

Mrs. DiDio's daughter, Lydia Schafer, met officers at her mother's home and told them she had confiscated her mother's car keys.

According to the Ottawa Hills police report, Mrs. DiDio spent last week in Toledo Hospital's psychiatric unit for "a nervous breakdown" and was released Monday.

She had no history of psychiatric treatment or mental illness.

Mrs. Schafer said the disturbed person who died on the highway was not the accomplished woman she knew and loved.

A native of Brazil, Mrs. DiDio was the owner-operator of Toledo Montessori Day School for 20 years, until 2006, according to her daughter.

"The impact she made on the lives of children in northwest Ohio is abundant," Mrs. Schafer said.

"She also was an accomplished pianist who gave piano lessons. She loved life. She was larger than life. She was the life of the party. She enjoyed cooking a great deal and spending time with her grandchildren."

Mrs. DiDio was the widow of Dr. Liberato J.A. DiDio, an internationally known anatomist who was the first faculty member at the former Medical College of Ohio, today the University of Toledo Medical Center.

Funeral arrangements are pending, Mrs. Schafer said.

Contact Carl Ryan at:
carlryan@theblade
or 419-724-6050.
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