Police counted eight bullet holes in the car.
By PATRICIA MEADE
VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A bullet to the head killed a 15-year-old girl today -- known only as Ashley to the friends she was with on Interstate 680.
The drive-by shooting took place about 12:40 a.m. just as a 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis driven by Viola M. Sheeler, 21, of Rosewood Avenue entered the interstate from High Street.
Sheeler was hit by gunfire in her right leg and treated at St. Elizabeth Health Center.
Another passenger, Shardae Madison, 16, also of Rosewood, was treated for cuts to her left ear and left hand.
Car was followed
Sheeler told police that a white Jeep with tinted windows followed them as they drove around the South Side.
As they approached the High Street freeway entrance ramp, she spotted it again and then heard popping noises.
Police discovered eight bullet holes in Sheeler's Mercury. Reports show its windows had been shot out.
The white vehicle drove south and Sheeler pulled off the roadway, realizing she and the others had been hit by the gunfire. They flagged down help.
A McDonald man who drives a semi tractor-trailer stopped to help, as did a Struthers man and Youngstown woman.
Sheeler and Madison were outside the car screaming and crying hysterically when police arrived. Paramedics told police that the teen-ager still inside the car was dead.
Sheeler told police that Ashley had been staying with her for about a month but she never thought to ask the teen-ager's last name. Sheeler said Ashley was from New Castle, Pa., reports show.
The three girls had been skating and had stopped at Taco Bell on Market Street, where the Jeep began following them, reports show.
Madison said she and her friends had also been to Gina's, a convenience store drive-through on Glenwood Avenue.
From there, they decided to get on the freeway and head back to their homes on the East Side when the vehicle that had been following them pulled alongside and someone inside it opened fire.
Once the gunfire ceased, Madison saw that Ashley was slumped over, then noticed the hole in her head.
Sheeler's mother, Shirley, said today that the bullet is still in her daughter's leg and she hopes they find out who did it. Shirley Sheeler didn't know Ashley's last name, either, just that the girl was from New Castle.
The 15-year-old is the city's 19th homicide victim this year. At this time last year, the city had recorded 17 homicides.