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'He was loved by everybody': Knox County community mourns loss of man killed in fatal crash

Paul Baker, a 48-year-old employee of Long Branch Pizza, died in a crash Sunday afternoon.
Credit: Baker's family

CENTERBURG, Ohio — A community in Centerburg is mourning the loss of a 48-year-old man who died in Knox County over the weekend.

Paul Baker, an employee of Long Branch Pizza, died in a crash Sunday afternoon.

Baker's mother, Sue, said she can't believe her new reality.

"His death was unexpected and to die violently is hard to accept," Sue said.

Police said Paul was riding in the backseat of the owner's vehicle, Christina Huhn, who was driving with her daughter in the passenger's seat when a 17-year-old driver went left of center, colliding head-on with their vehicle.

Paul was pronounced dead at the scene and the manager of the pizza restaurant, Dylan Lorain, said Huhn is in critical condition.

"He was always a people person," Sue said. "He was loved by everybody."

An investigation is currently underway into the crash. Police said on Wednesday there was thinning on the tires of the teen's vehicle and the slick weather conditions may have added to the crash.

Sue said Paul loved helping the Huhn family bring their vision to life, completely revamping the pizza shop they took ownership of back in March 2022. They were in the process of expanding the business into a sit-down restaurant and bar, but now that dream is put on pause.

"Paul was awesome to be around. He always talked about his kids all the time and all the fun they would have," Lorain said.

Local businesses expressed their support on social media, raising more than $5,000 for the Baker and Huhn family.

"All the businesses, everybody, all the citizens get together and they help everybody. It's just the way Centerburg is, it always has been,” says Jan Hendrickson, who has managed the Hometown Market for over 40 years.

"Our thoughts and prayers to them and we just hope things come out alright and they can get back to work," Hendrickson said.

Anyone who would like to support the family can visit their GoFundMe here.

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