Man Charged After Shooting Truck Mistaken For Wildlife

NORTH HARMONY — An Ohio man is facing charges after accidentally firing a high-powered rifle at a brown pickup truck he mistook for a deer, the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office reported.

The hunting accident was the second this week in the county and drew a sharp rebuke from Sheriff Joe Gerace, who called Friday’s incident in the town of North Harmony “absolutely irresponsible.”

Deputies charged 26-year-old Marvin C. Miller of Middlefield, Ohio, with second-degree reckless endangerment and discharging a firearm across a roadway. The shooting took place around 11:20 a.m., the Sheriff’s Office reported.

Robert Merritt, of Springboro, Pa., called 911 to report that the pickup truck he was a passenger in had been struck by a bullet. Merritt and the driver, who was not identified, were on an access road heading toward state land on Wiltsie Road.

Miller told deputies and New York State Environmental Conservation police that he had mistaken the pickup truck for a deer when he fired a round from his 7mm high-powered scoped rifle. The bullet struck the vehicle’s front fender on the driver’s side just a few feet from the cab.

The round entered the engine compartment, disabling the truck, the Sheriff’s Office said in a press release. After firing the shot, Miller left the woods and checked on the truck’s occupants.

Miller was arraigned in Sherman Town Court and released after posting bail.

Gerace said Miller likely fired the round quickly after seeing movement in the woods. He said had Miller lined up his shot and identified his target properly, the hunting accident would have been avoided.

“Firing this weapon at first blush with no target, it’s absolutely irresponsible,” Gerace told The Post-Journal late Friday. “It’s very concerning. We should be able to get through a hunting season without tragedy. This kind of thing just shouldn’t happen. We should be learning from past tragedies.”

“No game is worth injuries or taking a life,” he said.

Environmental Conservation police were expected to return to the site of the shooting today to continue their investigation.

Additional charges are pending against Miller.

Friday’s incident was the second this week in which a hunter mistakenly fired a weapon thinking there was a deer present. A Sherman woman, Rosemary Billquist, 43, was shot and killed Wednesday while walking her dogs near her residence on Armenian Road. The man who shot her, Thomas Jadlowski, told police he thought he spotted a deer when he fired his pistol.

Rosemary was taken to an Erie, Pa., hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Jadlowski has not been charged as of Friday, though the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office has been reviewing the shooting.


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