PAULDING - A Christmas evening crash claimed the life of one person and injured three west of Paulding.

Dead is Victor Alvarez Hernandez, age 20 of Paulding.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Van Wert Post is investigating the crash, which occurred at approximately 11:53 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 25 on County Road 144 (Gasser Road) just east of Township Road 83 in Paulding Township.

Troopers said a 2013 Ford Fusion operated by Joel Molina, 19, Paulding, was westbound on Road 144. A Case farm tractor/implement operated by Francis Maag, age 46, of Paulding, was also westbound on Road 144. The Ford struck the rear of the implement and slid off of the right side of the road, where it came to final rest in a ditch.

Molina was trapped within the motor vehicle and required extrication to be freed and was transported by Samaritan to Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne for serious injuries.

The Ford was occupied by Hernandez; Ever Alvarez Gomez, 25; and Ranulfo Lopez, 21. The injured passengers were transported to Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne. Gomez has been released from the hospital. The conditions of the others are unknown at this time.

Hernandez was pronounced dead at the scene by Dr. Joseph Kuhn, Paulding County coroner.

Maag was listed as uninjured.

The Van Wert Post was assisted on scene by Paulding Fire and EMS, Antwerp Fire and EMS, Samaritan, Paulding County Sheriff’s Office, and R&O Towing.

Alcohol is believed to be a factor, according to troopers. The crash remains under investigation.