PLAIN TWP. — An 18-year-old Plain Township woman was killed and her father injured Sunday when a tree fell and smashed their car as it traveled along Everhard Road NW.
Sydney Kleptach died Monday, law enforcement officials confirmed.
Kleptach and her father, Brian Kleptach, 48, were traveling in a 2017 Chevrolet Malibut around 4:15 p.m. Sunday when the car was struck by a falling tree in the 3700 block of Everhard Road NW.
Sydney Kleptach was transported to Akron Children’s Hospital and Brian Kleptach to Mercy Medical Center.
Sydney was a 2018 graduate of GlenOak High School and a student at the University of Mount Union where she was majoring in biology and French and on the women’s soccer team.
According to her team biography, she was the president of GlenOak’s National Honor Society, lettered twice in soccer and earned four academic letters, and served as a student ambassador and board of education representative. She also earned several academic and athletic awards. And logged more than 900 hours of community service while in high school.
"We are very saddened by the sudden loss of freshman Sydney Kleptach, a beloved member of the Mount Union family," Mount Union said in a release Monday night. "As our students, faculty, administrators and staff grieve, we are focusing our attention on offering support to the Kleptach family and members of our campus community. Pastoral and grief counseling will be made available to those who seek it as our community grieves and heals."
Wind and rain likely caused the tree to fall.
According to the National Weather Service, 2.5 inches of rain fell on Stark County Sunday. Wind speeds averaged 16.6 miles per hour with gusts reaching 36 miles per hour.
"We had all that rain, it soaked the ground. And we had some wind. Sometimes that topples trees over," said Major C.J. Stantz of the Stark County Sheriff’s Office.
A tree falling on a moving vehicle is uncommon, Stantz added.
"You’re going 35, 40 miles per hour. A few seconds before, a few seconds later" could be the difference, he said.
The accident is still under investigation. The Sheriff’s Office is working with the Canton Metro Crash Team.