Ralph R. Bernhardt Jr., 59, of Cincinnati was driving to work at the GE Peebles Test Operation in the early morning hours of Monday, June 23. He never arrived. According to the Ohio State Patrol at the time, he was last seen at the Batavia United Dairy Farmers at approximately 5:40 a.m.
After a search was made for the missing man, the State Patrol received a report of a wrecked vehicle near James Sauls Drive, formerly Front Wheel Drive, in Batavia Township at noon on Wednesday, June 25.
Preliminary investigation revealed that Bernhardt was heading eastbound on state Route 32 in a 2006 Toyota Highlander. Bernhardt traveled off the right side of the roadway just east of the James Sauls Drive exit, before driving through the right of way fence and onto James Sauls Drive and continued eastbound. The vehicle then traveled off the left side of James Sauls Drive into a tree line striking mutiple trees.
Bernhardt was located deceased in the vehicle. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.