April 19, 2014

Elyria
Sunny
39°F
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Middle Avenue crash victims improving in the hospital

CARLISLE TWP. — Three teenagers critically injured when the vehicle they were in crashed into a building Saturday are recovering.

Teens, in what police say was a stolen Chrysler PT Cruiser, went over this railroad crossing on Middle Avenue before the vehicle crashed Saturday. (CT photo by Bruce Bishop.)

Driver Isiah McKibben, 17, of Lorain, was listed in fair condition at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland on Monday night. Passenger Shawn Gamble, 14, of Elyria, was listed in serious condition, while passenger Charlie Rivera, 15, of Elyria, was in good condition.

Another passenger, Eric Redondo, 15, of Elyria, suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to EMH Medical Center in Elyria after the crash.

Repairs also are being made to the NiSource natural gas transmission building on Middle Avenue into which police say McKibben crashed a stolen Chrysler PT Cruiser.

McKibben lost control heading over an elevated railroad crossing, struck a ditch and fence and then went through the cinder-block NiSource building that houses Columbia Gas transmission lines, according to a press release from the Ohio Highway Patrol’s Elyria post.

Sgt. Paul March, a supervisor with the Elyria post, said the PT Cruiser was reported stolen in Elyria around 9 a.m. Saturday.

Columbia Gas of Ohio spokeswoman Amy Koncelik said the crash caused no outages or interruptions to customers but did substantial damage to the building on Middle Avenue, north of Butternut Ridge Road.

The PT Cruiser struck natural gas lines, causing a severe leak. Emergency workers were unable to reach three of the teens until officials deemed the area safe, but Koncelik said residents weren’t endangered.

“There was no need to evacuate,” she said. “Our crews were on the scene the entire time.”

Koncelik said she is not sure how long repairs to the building will take, but the pipes have been repaired and are operating as usual.

Elyria police Lt. Andy Eichenlaub said charges have not yet been filed against McKibben or the passengers.

Reporter Evan Goodenow contributed to this story. Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.