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Published: Sunday, March 17, 2019 @ 8:56 PM
Updated: Monday, March 18, 2019 @ 11:49 AM
MORAINE — Authorities continue to investigate how three Mason family members died in a wrong-way wreck Sunday on Interstate 75 in Moraine that backed up traffic for hours.
Timmy Thompson, 51, Karen Thompson, 50, and Tessa Thompson, 10, have been identified as victims in the Sunday night accident, according to the Montgomery County Coroner's Office.
It’s not certain how fast the northbound driver was traveling when that vehicle was involved in the “head-on” collision, Moraine Police Detective Sgt. Andrew Parish said.
Parish did not identify the driver of the wrong-way vehicle – a Kia – and he said authorities are still working to determine where and how it entered the southbound lane on I-75 before striking a Toyota Camry.
Related coverage: 3 things to know if you spot a wrong-way driver
“We’re still gathering witness statements, analyzing those 911 calls to find out exactly how this person got on the wrong side of the interstate,” said Moraine Police Detective Sgt. Andrew Parish.
“We don’t know if they crossed over, if they got on an exit, went up the wrong way on the entrance ramp or what. But at some point they crossed over, got into the wrong lanes and struck this family head on,” he said.
The driver, who Parish did not identify, remains hospitalized.
Police said they believe alcohol was a factor in the wrong-way driver getting in the southbound lanes.
"To what extent, we're not sure yet. But we are investigating that," Parish said.
"This is horrific," he said. "Not only do we have two adults that were involved. We have a child….who's lost their life because of this crash. This is absolutely tragic."
The crash happened on I-75 between Dryden Road and South Dixie Drive around 8 p.m., according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
The wreck closed the interstate for nearly four hours, with the help of staged salt trucks to block all lanes and force traffic off of the I-75 exit, according to the state patrol.
Related coverage: Complete coverage: 5 dead in I-75 wrong-way crash - WHIO
Wrong-way drivers have caused accidents with multiple fatalities on area highways in the past few years.