I-71 South is open again after fatal truck crash

Interstate 71 South has reopened after Tuesday morning’s fatal crash involving three semitrailers and a commercial van halted traffic for hours, the Ohio Highway Patrol said.

The driver of the van, 51-year-old Ronald Hoeffler Jr. of Lebanon, Ohio died at the scene, according to the patrol.

The three semitrailer drivers — Mitchell Patterson, 53, of Mentor; David Jenson, 29, of Dayton and Antonio Brown, 44, of Vero Beach, Fla., were not injured.

According to the preliminary investigation, traffic was backing up on I-71 due to a lane closure for the Jeremiah Morrow Bridge construction project and all four vehicles were in the right lane.

Hoeffler was stopped behind a semi when another semi rear-ended Hoeffler’s van, forcing it off the right side of the road.

The third semi swerved left to avoid the crash, but struck the two other trailers, according to the patrol.

Charges are pending the completion of the investigation.

The accident was near the intersection with Ohio 73. Troopers first responded about 9:45 a.m.

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