Highway patrol IDs victims in Ohio Turnpike crashes

Trooper also injured

3/13/2014
BLADE STAFF
Traffic inches by while crews work to clean the remains of a multi-vehicle accident in the eastbound lane of the Ohio Turnpike on Thursday near the County Road 268 overpass near Clyde.
Traffic inches by while crews work to clean the remains of a multi-vehicle accident in the eastbound lane of the Ohio Turnpike on Thursday near the County Road 268 overpass near Clyde.

FREMONT – The Ohio State Highway Patrol has released the names of three people killed in a triple-fatal traffic incident that involved more than 50 vehicles colliding in two crash zones in the eastbound lanes of the Ohio Turnpike in Sandusky County. A trooper from the Milan Post was also injured in the pileup.

The left and center eastbound lanes of the Turnpike were opened just after 10 a.m. Traffic had been diverted off at Exit 91 to St. Rt. 53. Semis trying to reroute onto the U.S. 20 east bypass is resulting in traffic congestion on both St. Rt. 53 and U.S. 20.

Those killed in the first crash zone were Hannah Matheny, 20, of Parma, Ohio, who was a passenger in a Ford Focus, and Grzegorz A. Piwowarczyk, 42, of Palatine, Ill., who was driving a commercial vehicle, according to the patrol. That crash involved about 16 vehicles.

VIDEO: Sandusky Register footage by Shawn Foucher

RELATED ARTICLE: Heavy snow returns; 3 killed in multi-vehicle crash 

PHOTO GALLERY: Snowstorm socks region

911 AUDIO: Man calls in accident

911 AUDIO: Man describes car upside down in front of him

Killed in the second crash zone was Janice Robb, 66, of Schererville, Ind., who was a passenger in a Chevy Venture, the patrol said. There were about 20 vehicles involved in that crash.

Traffic is backed up on St. Rt. 53 heading toward the U.S. 20 bypass in Fremont.
Traffic is backed up on St. Rt. 53 heading toward the U.S. 20 bypass in Fremont.

About 1:25 p.m., trooper Andrew Clouser, 29, was dispatched to the scene of the initial crash. He became stuck and pinned between two vehicles at 2:05 p.m., troopers said. This crash started a chain reaction of collisions within the two crash zones, one near the initial crash near milepost 102, and the other one near milepost 101. About 50 vehicles were trapped between the two crash zones with minor or no damage to the vehicles.

Trooper Clouser was taken to Firelands Hospital in Sandusky with severe injuries, according to the patrol. He was later transferred to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, where he remains in the intensive care unit.

Chris Mock, of Sandusky County Emergency Management Services, said that 18 people, in addition to Trooper Clouser, were transported Wednesday from the crashes, and were taken to ProMedica Memorial Hospital in Fremont for treatment.

Three of the 18 required overnight stays at motels, which the American Red Cross provided, Ms. Mock said.

Overnight rain that turned to drifting and blowing snow Wednesday made driving treacherous. 

The crash remains under investigation.