LORAIN — A 70-year-old man’s heart problems may have caused him to wreck his vehicle on the Henderson Bridge in Lorain on Friday, but it was smoke inhalation from the ensuing car fire that killed the man, county Coroner Paul Matus said Saturday.
James Kniceley, of Lorain, was pronounced dead at the scene of the late-afternoon crash.
Witnesses told police that Kniceley was slumped at the wheel of his maroon Honda sedan when it struck a guardrail on the bridge’s peak and continued north down the slope of the bridge, careening wildly and knocking over orange construction barrels in the middle of the road.
Kniceley’s vehicle then crossed the center of the road and collided head-on with an oncoming pickup before catching fire, police said.
Matus said Kniceley suffered a heart problem that may have contributed to him losing control of the vehicle, but smoke inhalation is what killed him.
While the pickup driver was able to remove himself from the vehicle before emergency crews arrived, Kniceley was still in his vehicle. A bystander tried to snuff the flames with a fire extinguisher but was unsuccessful, police said.
Lorain firefighters responded to the accident, but their arrival was hampered by heavy traffic caused by construction work on the bridge. Kniceley’s car was completely engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, firefighters said.
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