3 dead, trooper stable in turnpike pileup; 1 lane reopens

Port Clinton News Herald – by Kristina Smith

FREMONT — Three people are dead and an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper who was pinned between vehicles is in stable condition after a more than 50-vehicle pileup Wednesday on the Ohio Turnpike.

Those killed in the first crash zone – that involved approximately 16 vehicles – have been identified as Hannah Matheny, 20, of Parma, who was a passenger in a Ford Focus and Grzegorz A. Piwowarczyk, 42, of Palatine, Ill.,who was driving a commercial vehicle.  

The second crash zone, involving approximately 20 vehicles, resulted in the death of Janice M. Robb, 66, of Schererville, Ind. She was a passenger in a Chevy Venture.

Trooper Andrew Clouser, 29, of the patrol’s Milan post, is in serious but stable condition at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center in Toledo. He was taken there after being treated at Firelands Regional Medical Center in Sandusky.

Clouser — who has been a trooper for a little more than a year — was handling a crash that happened at 1:25 p.m. in the eastbound lanes near Clyde and was struck by a vehicle at the scene at 2:05 p.m. He suffered serious injuries to his legs, Sgt. Vincent Shirey, patrol assistant public affairs commander in Columbus, said.

“The trooper is conscious,” Shirey said. “I was told he is doing better.”

Both lanes of the Ohio Turnpike are now cleared following the pileup, according to dispatchers from Milan Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The lanes were cleared around 3 a.m. Thursday morning.

“Nobody is stopped now, other than disabled vehicles,” a dispatcher from the Milan Post said.

Although both lanes are cleared, vehicles cannot enter the turnpike from Fremont/Port Clinton exit 91, but dispatchers said it is expected to open back up around 11 a.m. today.

Blowing snow created whiteout conditions that caused the pileup that stretched 2 miles and caused other crashes on the turnpike, the patrol’s Berea post said.

All turnpike lanes were closed for several hours between the Ohio 53 Fremont/Port Clinton exit and the Ohio 4 Sandusky exit. An eastbound lane opened Wednesday evening.

Drivers not involved in the crash were stranded on the highway. The More than 20 state troopers and supervisors, joined by multiple emergency medical services and fire departments, checked on everyone, Shirey said.

“The troopers systematically checked all vehicles one-by-one to make sure they had heat and no personal emergencies,” he said.

Those who needed food and warmth were taken to turnpike service plazas, he said.

The state patrol’s Sandusky Post also reported multiple accidents in the region but had no details.


419-334-1044 or 419-734-7521

Twitter: @kristinasmithNM


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