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Published: 5/20/2004

Accident on turnpike injures 2, clogs traffic

Traffic on the eastbound Ohio Turnpike at I-75 in Rossford was backed up for about seven miles for two hours yesterday after two semis and a full-size van hauling a car on a dolly collided there. Two Ohio people in the van were hurt seriously, the Ohio Highway Patrol said.

Frank Kovac, 42, of Garrettsville, Ohio, the driver of the van, and Michelle Wistar, 43, of Newton Falls, Ohio, a passenger, were taken to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center with what appeared to be serious injuries, troopers at the patrol's Swanton post said.

Mr. Kovac was in surgery; Ms. Wistar was being treated in the emergency room, a hospital nurse said last night.

A semi driven by Donald Kirsch, 62, of Slinger, Wis., which was hauling a load of ice cream, and the Kovac van-dolly rig were eastbound in the driving lane about 4:35 p.m. when they started to slow almost to a stop for backed-up traffic between the on ramp and the off ramp to I-75, with the van right behind the semi. A semi driven by Kevin Koehn, 32, of Westmont, Ill, who was hauling a load of boat trailers, drove up from behind, failed to stop, struck the van in the rear, and pushed it into the trailer of the Kirsch rig, Sgt. Jim Czerniakowski said.

Mr. Koehn was not hurt; Mr. Kirsch refused medical treatment. No citations were issued as of 9:30 p.m., Sergeant Czerniakowski said.

Traffic in the eastbound passing lane resumed shortly after the accident and was maintained throughout the rescue and clean-up efforts, which were over by about 6:30 p.m., the sergeant said.



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