Triple fatal crash witness veers into ditch to avoid collision in Logan County

RICHLAND TWP., Logan County — Three people were killed and two others injured in a three-vehicle crash Friday evening on state Route 117 just north of Huntsville.

A fourth vehicle was able to avoid the crash and wound up in a field but was not involved in the collision and the driver was not hurt, Logan County Sheriff’s Lt. Ryan Furlong said.

The crash around 6 p.m. near County Road 96 shut down the state highway for just more than four hours between state Routes 274 and 235.

“Upon arriving, there were three deceased victims and two injured,” Furlong said. “What we believe happened is a 2013 Dodge Caravan was southbound on state Route 117, went left of center and struck a 2007 Toyota Tundra. Once that occurred, a third vehicle, a 2006 Acura TL then struck the side of the Toyota truck.”

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A man and woman, both family members, in the white minivan were killed instantly, as was the Logan County man driving the Toyota pickup truck, Furlong said. The man and woman in the minivan were from another part of the state.

The man driving the Acura was flown to MercyHealth St. Rita’s Medical Center in Lima, and his woman passenger was taken by ambulance to Mary Rutan Hospital in Bellefontaine. Their conditions were not available.

Debra Terpstra of Kalamazoo, Michigan, was on her way to the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, and for several miles was traveling behind the white minivan that caused the crash.

“They were drifting towards the center line so I kinda kept my distance and just this last time they drifted across and just totally into oncoming traffic,” she said.

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She had seconds to react.

“I was just trying to figure out if I could go around them, and I just veered off into the ditch, into the cornfield,” she said.

Her car did sustain some damage, but after witnessing the crash that claimed three lives, Terpstra said: “I’m just happy to be alive.”

The names of those involved in the crash are expected to be released Saturday morning, Furlong said.

Furlong said state Route 117 is a main road in Logan County that sees a lot of traffic, particularly during rush hour from those who commute to Lima for work.

A crash reconstruction team is investigating the collision.

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