In a split second, Dustin Kominek’s car began sliding on the snow-covered U.S. 20, went sideways, and was struck on its passenger side by an oncoming car.
Before an hour had elapsed, emergency responders had performed a cesarean section on the Toledo man’s pregnant wife, Rachel; delivered their baby; flown the infant to Mercy Children’s Hospital, and pronounced Mrs. Kominek, 26, dead.
“I don’t know if there are any heroes in this, but the EMTs and the first responders, they’re the ones that made all the hard decisions and were able to save the baby,” said Lt. Jerrod Savidge, commander of the Ohio Highway Patrol’s Bowling Green post.
Mr. Kominek, 24, was treated at St. Luke’s Hospital. The driver of the second vehicle in the Perrysburg Township collision, Melissa Domanowski, 33, of Williston, was in serious condition at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, while a passenger in her car, Jillian Sheetz, 34, of Oregon was treated at Mercy St. Charles Hospital.
Mercy spokesman Sarah Bednarski said the Kominek baby was in critical condition Friday. She confirmed that a doctor and nurse who flew to the accident site by Life Flight performed an emergency cesarean section inside an ambulance there.
Paramedics from Perrysburg, Lake, and Troy townships assisted.
“They did everything right and, yeah, they certainly receive training on these types of incidents, but this is probably once in a career that you might have something like this happen,” Perrysburg Township Fire Chief Tom Brice said. “It’s pretty rare, and it’s a terrible tragedy. Our hearts go out to the family and the husband who has to deal with it.”
Through a hospital spokesman, family members declined interviews Friday. The hospital would not disclose the baby’s sex.
The Komineks married April 26, 2011, according to Mr. Kominek’s Facebook page. A girl was born to them last Jan. 13, 2012, according to a newspaper listing.
Although little, if any, snow fell in northwest Ohio on Thursday, U.S. 20 and other area highways were plagued with slippery spots where snow drifted onto the pavement. Brisk wind on Friday created similar conditions on rural highways despite sunny skies, and many roads remained icy.
Lieutenant Savidge said Mr. Kominek was eastbound on U.S. 20 approaching Tracy Road in Perrysburg Township about 5:10 p.m. Thursday when he lost control of his car on a snow-covered portion of the road.
“According to witnesses, he tapped his brake and there was snow blowing across the roadway,” he said. “His rear end kind of broke loose, and it appears he went off the right side of the road, overcorrected, crossed the center line, and was struck in the right side by a westbound vehicle.”
Troopers initially believed Mr. Kominek was attempting to turn left onto Tracy Road, but Lieutenant Savidge said the motorist directly behind him said “it didn’t appear to him that the vehicle was preparing to turn left. He tells me he just lost control.”
Trooper said Mr. Kominek was not wearing a seat belt, although his wife and the second vehicle’s occupants were.
Daniel Vasquez said he was at home on U.S. 20 when he and his girlfriend heard a loud bang. He grabbed his coat and rushed outside; she called 911.
“I didn’t know the severity until I got to the first vehicle. That’s when I saw the young lady,” Mr. Vasquez, 55, said. “I waited with her and her husband, and then another young lady showed up. She had a scarf so I had her take it off to put it on the woman’s wound on her head.”
She was bleeding heavily and was trapped in the car. Thankfully, emergency crews arrived almost immediately, he said.
Accidents are common at the intersection, Mr. Vasquez said. He said he’s gone out to check on people after hearing crashes numerous times.
“This was definitely the worst one I’ve experienced,” he said “It definitely has me a bit shaken.”
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6129.