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Coroner ID's Windsor-area man found dead in woods after car crash
A car that crashed into a bank and went airborne on a quiet, dead-end street in Windsor on Thursday morning was traveling so fast that a neighbor's security camera failed to capture an image of it driving by.
The man inside rolled out of the passenger side and ran into the woods, neighbors said. That's the last time he was seen alive.
Byron Salter, 25, of Catalpa Lane in Windsor Township, was pronounced dead at 7:35 a.m. Thursday, June 14, in the woods near the scene of the crash, on Water Street in Windsor, the York County Coroner's Office said in a news release Friday.
An autopsy Friday morning failed to determine Salter's cause and manner of death, but York County Coroner Pam Gay noted in a news release that it doesn't appear he died as a result of the crash.
She noted that her rulings on cause and manner of death are now pending the results of toxicology tests. It can takes weeks or a few months to receive results of such tests.
Neighbors saw and heard the crash, then saw Salter run.
"I chased him into the woods," Wes Grafton told The York Dispatch, but said he and fellow neighbor George Herbert stopped short of running headlong into the tangled brush where Water Street dead-ends into the driveway of an old inspection station.
"I thought he had a gun in his hand," Grafton explained. "He came out (of the car) pretty fast, and he took off running."
Grafton and Herbert yelled for the man to come out of the woods with his hands up, and that they would help him.
When they got no response, they yelled that they would send in Herbert's dog if he didn't come out. Herbert's dog, Gizmo, is a sweet Shetland sheepdog, or sheltie, who certainly wasn't going to hurt anyone, Grafton said — but the men thought perhaps it would convince the driver to come out.
Moaning: The driver didn't respond with words, but he was moaning and was clearly suffering, according to the neighbors.
"It sounded like he was in terrible pain," Grafton said.
Grafton's mother-in-law, Laura Keesey, said state troopers arrived and yelled into the woods for the man to come out with his hands up.
"But he couldn't," she said. "He was dying."
Grafton said he was told police didn't find a gun in the woods.
Keesey said her thoughts immediately went to the family of the man and their heartbreak at learning of his death.
She has lived on Water Street since she and her husband moved there in 1955. He owned a vehicle-inspection business in the 1970s and '80s. Water Street dead-ends into the driveway of that former business, and that's where the crash occurred.
The crash happened about 7 a.m. Thursday, June 14, according to the York County 911 Center.
'Minimal trauma': Gay has said there was minimal trauma to the driver's body, and minimal damage to the vehicle. She also noted the car's airbags didn't deploy.
Grafton said the man was driving a rental car — a silver-gray sedan with a Florida license plate — and that the car was speeding when it went past Grafton's home.
"He was probably going 80 mph," Grafton said. The car would have had just a few yards to stop before entering the steep driveway of the Keeseys' former inspection station. The driveway turns sharply to the right as it heads downhill.
"He hit the bank and went airborne," Grafton said, then crashed into a tree.
The car gouged a deep mark into the bank to the left of the driveway, and the force of the impact left pieces of the car's front end strewn at the scene.
Neighbors said they believe the man was on some kind of drugs, and that it might have been an overdose and not injuries that killed him.
"I think he was jacked up on something," Grafton said.
He said the rental car was going so fast down Water Street that his security camera didn't have time to capture an image of it.
After the crash, the rental car was smoking quite a bit, according to Keesey.
"I thought it would explode," she said.
But it stopped smoking after Herbert ran over and turned off the car, Keesey said.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.