NORTH RIDGEVILLE — A local man who many believed was recuperating at home following last week’s head-on crash on state Route 83 remains hospitalized at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.
Mike Smith, 62, was to undergo a third surgery following the Sept. 3 collision between Smith’s GMC Sierra and an Oldsmobile Alero driven by Julie Maley, a 79-year-old North Ridgeville woman who also was admitted to MetroHealth with injuries.
Maley recently was released from the hospital, according to hospital personnel.
It was reported last week that Smith was released from St. John Medical Center in Westlake.
“Mike was a little concerned that everybody feels he’s doing OK and is at home, which isn’t the case,” longtime friend Gene Kleinholz said Thursday. “He was released from St. John’s but was then (flown) to Metro.”
Kleinholz, a retired North Ridgeville firefighter, spoke with Smith’s wife, Kathy, before Smith went into surgery Thursday for the third time for injuries affecting his hip and foot.
“Mike is a big man, a physically strong guy,” Kleinholz said. “He got pretty banged up. He absorbed the brunt of the accident, which was on his side of the vehicle. He’ll be laid up another three months at least.”
Privacy regulations prevented hospital public relations personnel at St. John’s from releasing information regarding Smith’s whereabouts after being released Sept. 4.
The crash occurred when Maley drove left of center and collided with the truck driven by Smith as she was northbound on Route 83 by a railroad overpass between Bainbridge and Sugar Ridge roads, police said.
Both drivers had to be extricated from their vehicles.
Neither Smith’s wife nor two grandchildren, who were riding in the backseat of the Sierra, were injured, according to police.
The crash is under investigation, but Maley likely will be charged with left of center, Garrow said.
Kleinholz was among the motorists who were diverted off Route 83 the day of the accident after the road was closed.
He had no idea until the next day that the crash involved his friends.
“I went to school with both of them,” Kleinholz said.
A retired employee of the Ohio Turnpike Commission, Smith raises crops, including soybeans, on 35 acres of land he owns in the city, Kleinholz said.