SWANTON — Several people were injured and the Ohio Turnpike’s eastbound lanes were closed for about seven hours Wednesday morning in eastern Fulton County after two separate, but related crashes involving tractor trailers, the Ohio Highway Patrol reported.
Three people were taken to area hospitals with injuries, transported by air and ground ambulances, while at least two more suffered minor injuries.
In the first crash, reported at 11:58 p.m. Tuesday, a semi driven by Kendall Ray, 48, of Louisville, hit a disabled tractor-trailer on the highway’s shoulder about four miles west of the Toledo Express Airport interchange, troopers from the patrol’s Swanton post reported. The collision forced the tractor trailer into a tow truck that was there to help.
The tow truck’s driver, Jeffrey Rogge, 47, of Swanton, and truck driver Willard Wheeler, 60, of Detroit, were both trapped between their two vehicles. Mr. Rogge was taken by air ambulance to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, while Mr. Wheeler was taken by ambulance to the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio.
Mr. Ray was uninjured.
The crash backed up traffic in the eastbound lanes. At 1:18 a.m., a semi driven by Alexander Larin, 29, of Elmwood Park, Ill., struck another tractor-trailer that was stopped in the right lane because of the previous crash. Mr. Larin’s truck then struck a car and a third big rig, troopers said.
Mr. Larin was taken to UTMC by air ambulance, while occupants of the other vehicles suffered minor injuries.
Eastbound turnpike traffic was detoured at the Delta interchange to U.S. 20 and U.S. 20A/State Rt. 2 during the rescue, cleanup, and on-site investigation. The highway patrol said later Wednesday that the crash investigations continued.