October 20, 2014


Probe blames speed, weather in Turnpike crashes

A multi-vehicle accident in the eastbound lane of the Ohio Turnpike near the County Road 268 overpass ties up traffic Wednesday near Clyde, Ohio. (AP Photo/The Toledo Blade, Jeremy Wadsworth)

A multi-vehicle accident in the eastbound lane of the Ohio Turnpike near the County Road 268 overpass tied up traffic earlier this month near Clyde, Ohio. (AP Photo/The Toledo Blade, Jeremy Wadsworth)

MILAN, Ohio (AP) — Drivers’ speeds, poor road conditions and bad weather contributed to a series of Ohio Turnpike crashes this month that killed three people and injured a State Highway Patrol trooper, according to a preliminary report that blames the crashes mostly on tractor-trailers.

The preliminary investigative report by the patrol into the March 12 crashes will be sent to the Sandusky County prosecutor to decide whether charges will be filed, according to The Blade newspaper of Toledo.

“Obviously the road conditions and weather conditions were factors in the crash,” highway patrol Lt. Brett Gockstetter said. “However, driver error is certainly attributed to these crashes because you have to be able to … realize that if you can’t see, you shouldn’t be driving fast.”

The crashes occurred on a snowy two-mile stretch of the turnpike halfway between Toledo and Cleveland. They involved about 40 vehicles and resulted in two separate pileups.

The patrol believes Hannah Matheny, 20, died after the stopped Ford Focus she was riding in was struck from behind by a tractor-trailer. The Focus had stopped because of a minor collision between two tractor-trailers ahead, authorities said.

Trooper Andrew Clouser was injured after responding to the crash involving the Focus. He’d left his car to walk to the scene of the crash when a vehicle struck his car. Clouser returned to check on victims involved in that crash when a tractor-trailer crashed into the vehicles, pinning the trooper between two cars and killing the truck driver, 42-year-old Grzegorz Piwowarczyk of Palatine, Ill.

Clouser was listed in fair condition Thursday at a Toledo hospital.

The day’s third fatality on the turnpike happened as traffic started to back up. Janice Robb, 66, of Schererville, Ind., a passenger in a vehicle driven by her husband, 68-year-old Duane Robb, was killed when their car hit a truck in front of it.

Thirty people were transported from the crashes to hospitals.

  • Larry Crnobrnja

    Thank you, Captain Obvious.

  • John Davidson

    Brilliant deduction!

  • Sis Delish

    Whew! Thought for a minute they might blame Bush.

  • Jeff

    @LarryCrnobrnja:disqus @disqus_bSiuSF0cgU:disqus @sisdelish:disqus
    Although it was fairly obvious what happened, Commentary like yours is NOT NEEDED !! 3 People died and dozens hurt. What if someone from your family was involved? Would it be different then or would you respond with absolute sarcastic B.S. remarks like yours.

    • Larry Crnobrnja

      Hey Jeff, are you a hypocrite or what?

  • ekwaykway

    I said it before, people refuse to slow down in inclement weather, that includes semis too. I left Lorain heading West on the turnpike, while rain turned to snow. As I attemped to slow down, semis continued to plow on past me. I witnessed one do a 360 degree spin trying to slown too late. He narrowly missed the semi in front of me and ended up slamming into the wall facing East. If people would just slow down in poor visibility and changing road conditions, these pile ups could be avoided!

  • michelle

    Larry, you took the words right outta my mouth.

  • michelle

    also, they spent money on this probe?

  • DJ Dell

    Every time I go past that exact county line section of the turnpike when its snowy, I always see cars spun out. I think something is wrong with the road there.

    • Bob Owens

      Similar to Route 10 between 301 and I-480. Stretch of road with open fields on both sides. IMO the worst stretch of road in Lorain County.