The Ohio State Highway Patrol is urging motorists to use caution when traveling in hazardous winter weather following a rash of crashes including two fatalities in Clark, Champaign, and Logan counties this week.
“We ask that everyone drive carefully when traveling through Clark County and Ohio’s roadways. Give yourself enough time to wherever you go and drive slower. Some roadways still have precipitation on them, and even though the Ohio Department of Transportation has been working on the roads the last couple of days, we still have precipitation,” said Sgt. Rod Murphy with the Springfield Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
If you don’t have to be on the road, then wait to drive until conditions are better, Murphy said.
“We ask that drivers slow down, give yourself enough time to stop, and extra time and distance to stop due to roadways. In some cases, if you don’t have to drive, then possibly wait, and not drive until the roadways are better,” he said.
Murphy made the comments following a fatal crash on I-70 Thursday morning that shut down the highway for hours.
In that crash, a 2005 Honda Civic, driven by Caleb Runyeon, of Cleveland, and a 2016 Freightliner commercial truck, driven by Trevor James, 27, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, side-swiped each other on I-70 west near Enon Road around 6 a.m., according to the Springfield Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.n
This caused Runyeon’s car to travel off the right side of the road and strike a guardrail. James’ truck traveled off the left side of the road, struck a concrete barrier, traveled back across all lanes and stopped in the road, OSHP said.
Runyeon, 20, was not restrained and was partially ejected. He was pronounced dead at the scene, OSHP said.
James and his passenger, Kyle Ford, 40, of Smyrna, Delaware, were not injured.
Hazardous road conditions contributed to three head-on crashes earlier this week, including a fatal in Urbana.
A Bellefontaine man was killed on Monday afternoon after a head-on crash between a car and a pickup truck in the 2300 block of North U.S. 68 north of Urbana.
Gavin Stanley, 22, was pronounced dead at the scene after his 2004 Honda Accord went left of center and nearly struck a tow truck before hitting a 2017 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup truck headed the opposite way, according to the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office. The Honda came to rest in the middle of the road and the pickup truck spun off the west side of the highway and rolled onto its side.
The driver of the pickup truck and his passenger had to be freed from the crash. They were taken to the hospital, but their conditions were not known as of Thursday afternoon.
Two people were injured on Wednesday in Moorefield Twp. in Clark County after a head-on crash in the 80 block of Villa Road, according to police. One of the vehicles lost control, slid into the left lane, and struck a truck head-on. Two people were injured, but the extent of their injuries was not known.
After more snow fell on Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning, the snow and slippery roads contributed to a head-on crash on Wednesday morning in Logan County on U.S. 33 west of County Road 57, according to the Logan County Sheriff’s Office.
Two medical helicopters were called to the crash that injured two people after one of the vehicles landed on its top and one person was ejected from a vehicle. Details regarding the occupant’s injuries and surrounding the crash were unavailable Thursday afternoon.
Murphy said it’s difficult to stop and control a vehicle once it’s sliding, so the best thing to do is to give yourself enough time and distance when stopping.
“The best thing to do is give yourself enough distance and time to gradually and slowly come to a stop to try and prevent sliding. It’s very difficult to control a vehicle once it starts sliding, so gradually slow down and give yourself extra time to complete that stop to try and avoid the sliding,” he said.
There have been 123 crashes in Clark County and 57 crashes in Champaign County in 2021, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s crash database.
The snow and low temperatures, which have caused hazardous conditions in many areas, is expected to stay for the rest of the week.
Friday is expected to be mostly cloudy and a high around 28 degrees, with temperatures falling to around 17 degrees overnight, according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington.
There will be a slight chance of snow starting just after dawn on Saturday, rising to more chances of snow around noon. Snow chances will then slowly taper off, falling away by midnight. The high will be around 26 degrees but dropping to a low around seven degrees into the night with wind making it feel as low as minus two degrees before dawn.
The region might see extremely cold temperatures and wind chills on Sunday and Monday, according to the NWS. Early forecasts call for a low of minus two degrees on Sunday night with wind chills pushing temperatures lower. The temperatures on Monday night could get close to just under zero with wind chills again pushing temperatures to the low teens below zero.