SALESVILLE — A 21-year-old Salesville area resident remained hospitalized in Columbus as of press time Tuesday due to injuries suffered in a fiery crash on Leatherwood Road Monday night.

The Ohio Highway Patrol declined to release the identity of the male motorist who also is accused of assaulting a female relative and stealing her vehicle just prior to the accident.

The female reportedly suffered a minor injury. She alleged her cousin "beat the crap" out of her.

According to reports at the Guernsey County Sheriff’s Office and highway patrol’s Cambridge post, deputies were first dispatched to a Leatherwood Road location at 11:58 p.m. after the female victim called to report the assault and theft of her vehicle.

A sheriff’s dispatcher advised the call was lost and authorities were unable to re-establish contact with the female.

During their investigation, deputies learned the female, her cousin and two other males were riding in the vehicle when they began to argue. The driver stopped at a rural location on Leatherwood Road and after an altercation, the male ran through a wooded area back to the vehicle and left in the vehicle, prompting deputies to be dispatched.

A second caller reported an accident on Leatherwood Road (Route 265) and two possible gunshots after the crash.

The patrol reported the male was traveling between Salesville and Quaker City when the vehicle drove off the side of the roadway and struck a tree before catching fire.

Emergency responders from United Ambulance and the Quaker City Volunteer Fire Department were dispatched along with the highway patrol.

The male was reportedly out of the vehicle when deputies arrived at the scene. Deputies reportedly moved the male further away from the vehicle before medical personnel arrived on scene.

The male was taken by ambulance to Genesis Hospital in Zanesville, and later was transferred to Ohio Health’s Grant Medical Center in Columbus. No additional information regarding his condition was available as of press time.

Medical personnel reportedly bypassed Southeastern Med in Cambridge due to medical helicopters not being able to fly into the hospital.

Authorities believe the gunshots reported were items inside the vehicle exploding, and no gunshots were fired.

Charges are reportedly pending against the unidentified male.

The alleged assault and vehicle theft remain under investigation by the sheriff’s office while the patrol is investigating the accident.