August 1, 2014

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Police say medical issue was factor in high-speed crash

A North Ridgeville police officer recorded this vehicle traveling at 97 mph before it rear-ended another vehicle on Route 83. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

A North Ridgeville police officer recorded this vehicle traveling at 97 mph before it rear-ended another vehicle on Route 83. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

NORTH RIDGEVILLE – Police believe the elderly driver of a car that rear-ended another vehicle at nearly 100 mph Monday was experiencing a medical problem.

“Preliminary indications are that some kind of medical condition was involved,” police Capt. Marti Garrow said Tuesday.

Police say Frank Cimino, 88, of Avon, was driving his 2006 Buick Lucerne southbound on Route 83 when he crashed into the back of a 2013 Mazda CX-5 near Dorchester Avenue.

A North Ridgeville policeman driving north on Route 83 clocked Cimino’s vehicle traveling at 97 mph just before the crash, Garrow said.

“He witnessed the crash,” Garrow said.

Cimino was flown to MetroHealth Medical Center. He was listed in critical condition Tuesday afternoon.

The driver of the Mazda, Patricia Habenicht, 66, of North Ridgeville, was taken by ambulance to St. JohnWest Shore Hospital in Westlake. Her condition was not available.

Police do not believe alcohol was a factor in the crash.

The impact pushed the Mazda off the left side of Route 83 where it bounced into and out of a ditch before flipping over.

“It went end-over-end and luckily landed on its wheels,” Garrow said. “It did a complete flip and sprayed a lot of mud and dirt onto the road. The Buick was doing almost 100, and even if the other car was doing 45 mph, that’s a 55 mph difference.”

The Buick’s engine compartment smashed back almost to the firewall in front of the dashboard.

Cimino’s wife was a passenger in his car, but police had no information on her, including her name. She was also taken to St. John WestShore Hospital.

Route 83 was closed between Center Ridge and Mills roads for a time following the crash, which remains under investigation.

  • Julie O’Brien

    Think I’ll be buying a car like that next time around.

  • Sis Delish

    If it wasn’t a medical condition Before the event, it certainly was After…

  • angelfire

    Old age is a medical event in itself. How long before we start taking driving privileges from old people? After about 75 (if even THAT) they need to get off the road and they know it. They don’t see good, hear good, and are likely to kill others anytime day or night with heart attacks and other old age related complications.

    It is just common sense. Like drunks kill people, so do the aged. We have public transportation….let them have heart attacks on the bus.

    • golfingirl

      My father is 88 yo. I can assure you he is in better health than many of the young, fat, pot smokers who are preoccupied with texting while driving and blasting their boom boxes.

      Maybe a physical exam, like a pilot takes, including a drug test, for ALL drivers.

      To assume all people of a certain age are in the same physical condition is ridiculous.

    • NR2004

      I don’t need some bureaucrat deciding that for me. My doctors and family will figure that out.

    • taxpayer89

      I always said after a certain age elders need to retake the driving test. A medical condition can happen to any of us but most of the time they forget which pedal is which.

    • Guest

      Old age is not a medical factor at all. There are plenty of older adults who are very healthy… 75 is not old. I am not saying that all older people need to drive but come on now. Plenty of young people have had medical issues while at the wheel of a car.. Your age should not be held against your ability to drive… I do believe that older adults should have to have extra screening from a doctor before license renewal but to just say they can’t drive after a certain age is absolutely wrong.

    • Larry Muntz

      Angelfire, Remember you to will be that age, and you will see that most folks know when to stop driving. I used to say the same thing, but have changed my views, I see older people drive and they may go slower than some, sometimes, but they are safe competent drivers. Younger driver seem to not take driving serious enough and think it is a right. It is not a right.

    • Joe Smith

      Younger people get in more accidents than the old folks, when are we going to stop issuing driving privileges to young people?