Morrow County youth dies in farm accident

Ashtan William Russell

(See obituary below story)

SALEM, Ohio — A Morrow County youth who loved farming and rural living died from injuries he sustained in a work-related accident at a farm in Knox County. Feb. 3.

Ashtan William Russell, 16, of Bellville, was working for a farm in Knox County, near Fredericktown, known as the Algire Chicken Farm.

He was apparently run over by a piece of heavy equipment, according to the dispatch report from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.

Ashtan was a sophomore at Northmor High School, in Morrow County, where he was active in the FFA and enjoyed agriculture.

He had worked at the farm a little more than a year, according to his mother, Ami Russell. She said he enjoyed farm labor and was saving up to buy himself a truck.

Ami Russell said her son had a passion for farming and was excited about the opportunity to work on a farm.

“He worked every weekend and would talk to me about how he wanted to get his own farm going,” she said.

Although he did not grow up on a farm, he did have horses, and dreamed about one day working on area farms and running farm equipment, his mother said.

What happened

Tom Algire, who owns the farm where Ashtan worked, said he grows poultry for Case Farms. He declined to talk about his farm operation, or what may have happened.

“Ashtan was a high school kid who helped do menial tasks,” Algire said, describing what happened as “an accident.”

“Ashtan was a good kid,” Algire said. “It was a tragic thing that happened.”

Jay Sheffer, a captain with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, said the case is still under investigation.

Lending support

Various community functions have been planned to help support the Russell family with funeral expenses, including a spaghetti dinner, Feb. 22, at North Woodbury Alliance Church, of Mount Gilead, located at 6385 Ohio 314.

Silent auction donations and baked good donations are being accepted.

A fundraiser was also held at Mount Gilead Pizzaburg, Feb. 11, that drew generated about $2,600 for the family. Owner Jason Bentz said patrons can drop off additional donations for the family if they’d like.

Tin made in Ashtan's memory.
Tin made in Ashtan’s memory.

Ken Parrott, the FFA adviser at Northmor, said Ashtan was especially fond of metal shop and welding, and that the chapter had a tin memorial made for Ashtan’s brother, Tristan Russell.

The Northmor chapter is also preparing a number of fundraising activities during FFA Week. They’ll be helping at the spaghetti dinner, and also providing donations from the kiss-the-pig contest, where students pay for the teacher of their choice to kiss a pig in front of the student body.

“We’re all just very humble and thankful for all of the support,” Ami Russell said. “It’s just so overwhelming but it’s a good overwhelming.”

* * *

BELLVILLE, Ohio — Ashtan William Russell, age 16, of Bellville, died Feb. 3, at Grant Medical Center, following injuries sustained in a work accident.

He was born Oct. 7, 2002, in Galion, a son of Ami R. (George) Russell and Shane T. Russell. He was a sophomore at Northmor High School, where he was a member of the FFA.

Growing up, Russell enjoyed playing baseball and basketball. He liked to run, play with Hot Wheels cars and ride bikes with his brother. He also spent a lot of time baking with his mother.

For the past year, Russell enjoyed his time working for Algire Chicken Farm in Fredericktown. He loved being outdoors taking care of and riding his horses, mushroom hunting, fishing, camping and swimming.

When he wasn’t outdoors, he would spend hours on his Farm Simulator on Xbox or watching Internet videos.

Ashtan will be missed by his mom, Ami (Jeremy Kaufman) Russell, of Bellville; his father, Shane (Ashley) Russell of Fredericktown; his brother, Tristan (Alexis Frazier) Russell of Bellville; his girlfriend, Michaela Wilson, of Johnsville; his grandparents, Todd Russell of Bellville, Vivian (Dave) Troyer of Bellville, Bob (Luann) George of Mount Gilead, Rhonda Garris (Richard) of Lexington; aunts and uncles: his German Shepherd, Rugar; and numerous cousins.

Services were held Feb. 7 at Snyder Funeral Homes, in Mount Gilead. Pastor Donnie Akers officiated. Burial was held in Bryn Zion Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to Snyder Funeral Homes to assist the family with funeral expenses.

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