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Published: Monday, May 01, 2017 @ 7:43 PM
Updated: Tuesday, May 02, 2017 @ 3:08 PM
— Police are still trying to reconstruct the events that led to a fiery head-on crash on Interstate 75 on Sunday between a car travelling the wrong way and a tanker full of gasoline.
On Monday, transportation and environmental crews worked to mitigate the fallout from the violent collision. Road repairs will continue through Thursday, officials estimated.
The driver of the car, identified as 30-year-old Andrew Brunsman from Beavercreek, was killed and the truck driver suffered minor injuries in the collision that happened at 4:41 p.m. and sent plumes of black smoke and large balls of flames shooting into the sky just north of downtown for more than an hour.
Once the fire was out, concerns remained about damage that may have been done to the highway and about flaming gasoline that leaked into the storm sewer system.
READ MORE: Latest info on I-75 wrong-way crash and fire
Ohio Department of Transportation cameras captured the collision and subsequent explosion of the tanker.
The video shows a small, light-colored vehicle travelling the wrong way on southbound I-75 as it crosses over the Great Miami River and Riverview Avenue. The car was travelling in the fourth lane from the median. As it went around a curve and passed the southbound entrance ramp from Main Street, it collided with the tanker truck.
It is unclear from the video what lane of travel the collision initially occurred in, but the truck traveled several hundred yards further, with flames and smoke visible, before coming to a stop in the far left lane. The truck driver escaped the wreckage and ran across the highway lanes before the rig exploded.
DETOURS: How to deal with the morning commute
A representative from Reynolds & Reynolds in Kettering confirmed Monday that Brunsman was an employee there. Greene County court records show that he was married in March of 2016.
Multiple 911 callers reported seeing the car driving the wrong way just before the collision.
Police said the investigation is ongoing and includes a crash reconstruction unit, evaluation of physical evidence and interviews with witnesses. Officers said the full investigation will take several weeks to complete.
Anyone who witnessed the crash and has not yet been in contact with Dayton Police is asked to call Detective Derric McDonald at 937-333-1141.
All but two lanes of the highway were reopened by Monday morning, with traffic shifted to the right.
ODOT officials said there was no structural damage to the highway, and they were working quickly to replace pavement damaged.
“Just the extreme heat from that crash and that fire, that can do a lot of damage even to pavement, and so they have to go in where places are possibly crumbling, and they want to go in and remove that damaged pavement,” said Mandi Dillon, public information officer for ODOT.
INTERACTIVE MAP: Wrong-way crashes in the area
Crews were working on a 300-foot long section of pavement and removing three inches deep. They hoped to have the inside lanes that were most damaged fixed by Tuesday, following by a shift in traffic so they can repair the outside lanes.
“Hopefully by Thursday morning rush hour, their goal is to have all three lanes of southbound open again and then at that time the ramps from Route 4 to southbound and Main Street to southbound would reopen as well,” Dillon said.
The inside shoulders, both northbound and southbound, will remain closed for some time until repairs can be made to the concrete barrier. Those repairs will likely be made using nighttime lane closures in the future, Dillon said.
There is no estimate for how much the repairs will cost the state, which finished a complete rebuild of that section of interstate just last year.
VIDEO: Drone flew above crash scene
The Ohio EPA said workers found no continuing danger to the adjacent McPherson Town Historic District, where neighbors the day before had witnessed smoke pouring from storm drains and been told to call 911 if they had fumes in their homes.
“The fire (in the sewer system) was extinguished before the fire department departed the scene yesterday,” Dina Pierce, media coordinator for EPA Southwest District. “The fire department also flushed the storm sewers to push out the gasoline.”
Overnight, an environmental contractor ventilated the storm sewers, and that contractor will continue to do air monitoring for fumes, she said.
The city’s drinking water sources were not affected, Pierce said.
Water levels in the river were high from weekend storms when the crash occurred, so the storm sewers shouldn’t have discharged much.
“When the river level falls, the contractor will contain and recover any fuel that discharges from the storm sewer outfall,” Pierce said.
The City of Dayton’s Department of Water Division of Environmental Management referred questions about the sewer cleanup to a city spokesperson who did not return requests for comment.
The Dayton and Springfield areas have seen other fatal wrong-way crashes on local interstates in recent years, including the state’s deadliest crash of 2016, which happened in February on I-75 northbound, just north of where Sunday’s crash took place.
James Pohlabeln, 61, was intoxicated behind the wheel for the second time in 48 hours on Feb. 13, when he drove the wrong way on I-75 and struck a sports utility vehicle killing four young friends: Kyle Canter, 23, of New Carlisle; Earl Miller II, 27, of New Carlisle; Vashti Nicole Brown, 29, of Dayton; and Devin Bachmann, 26, of Huber Heights.
Pohlabeln had reportedly threatened suicide before. The crash was one of several in the area in early 2016 involving wrong-way drivers possibly on suicide missions.
Neighbors in the area watched the aftermath of Sunday’s fatal crash from porches and the river levee.
“When I looked out, the smoke was just blazing out and the fire boomed again,” said Michael Wolfe, who watched from his apartment window at the Asbury Apartment building overlooking the highway.
“I said, ‘Lord, what done happened here,’” he said.
Ohio 3rd in nation for serious hazmat transportation accidents
A Dayton Daily News investigation in 2014 showed accidents involving transportation of some hazardous materials increased dramatically since 2005, and Ohio was third worst in the country for these incidents, like the gasoline tanker crash and explosion that happened on I-75 Sunday.
A new look at the data show’s Ohio still ranks third worst behind only Texas and California.
Truck traffic accounted for four out of five of the serious accidents, according to the United States Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
There have been 602 incidents deemed serious in Ohio since 1987. The majority — 528 — are highway accidents. And 42 of those serious highway incidents took place since July 1, 2014.
Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 5:00 AM
HAMILTON — Hamilton has approved a one-year extension with a company that provides an automated photo program to monitor vehicles’ speed in the city. The city created the program in 2009.
Before the 7-0 vote last week to continue the program with Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., council members were told the program is different than many that have found themselves in legal trouble.
Unlike other programs, Hamilton’s uses either a manned vehicle that is clearly marked or hand-held devices operated by officers, which avoid issues of drivers not being able to face their accusers. In fact, when Ohio lawmakers in 2015 approved legislation for procedures to be used under such programs, several aspects were modeled after the city’s program, council was told.
Before the decision, Vice Mayor Michael Ryan asked how much the program would cost city government. He was told the program has no cost to the city. Rather, of the money generated by the program, 65 percent goes to the city, while 35 percent goes to Redflex.
The city can cancel the contract at any time with 10 days notice without financial penalties. The program generates about $100,000 per year, which goes into Hamilton’s general fund.
Hand-held devices also can be used in marked cruisers.
Mayor Pat Moeller said it’s especially important to use the program in school zones and other sensitive areas for speeding to get people to slow down there. He said he is confident the program has helped reduce fatalities on Ohio 129, where the program has slowed vehicles.
Public Safety Director Scott Scrimizzi said the thresholds used in the program are high: “It’s 10 miles an hour over (the speed limit) in a school zone. If you’re going 10 miles over (in a school zone), you deserve a ticket. It’s 14 miles an hour over in a 35-mph zone.”
He added: “We do not have enough officers right now. Speeding is our No. 1 complaint, I would think, without question, that we get from our citizens.”
It’s hard to refute the citation when you can go onto your computer and see it is your car, and you’re driving it, officials said.
Scrimizzi added that former Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen, who is critical of such programs and spoke against them on WLW radio, accepted an invitation from the city to review Hamilton’s speed program and, “He said, ‘If everybody operated the program the way that you guys do, I would have no problem with it.’” Allen later went on WLW and expressed that view.
Resident Alfred Barron during a public hearing on the matter told council he thinks the program is good. In fact, he said he would like the program used in the areas of Knightsbridge Drive and Pershing Avenue, which he said sometimes can resemble “speedways” and where there have been several crashes in recent years.
When the under-construction South Hamilton Crossing is finished later this year, linking Ohio 4 with the area of Miami University Hamilton’s campus and the Vora technology park, that would be a good area for such enforcement, Barron added.
Police Chief Craig Bucheit agreed that speeding is probably the biggest complaint people express during neighborhood meetings and said, “This is just one of many tools we use to keep our streets safe.”
Published: Monday, February 12, 2018 @ 4:57 PM
LEBANON — A 17-year-old South Lebanon boy today admitted to two counts of vehicular assault in connection with the crash that sent four of his passengers to the hospital and triggered the extended closure of a road and bridge.
The Shawhan Road bridge was closed after the crash involving five teens on Jan. 5. It isn’t expected to reopen until warmer temperatures allow crews to complete the job, expected to take about a week, according to the Warren County Engineer’s Office.
The crash occurred when the 2012 Mazda M6 driven by the teen “went airborne, drove off the right side of the road, over corrected, drove off the left side of the road, drove through a guard rail, rolled and landed in a frozen creek bed,” according to the crash report.
It was the second time in recent years the bridge was closed due to a crash involving young drivers accused of hill-hopping.
Published: Sunday, February 04, 2018 @ 6:16 AM
— Light snow has been falling across the Miami Valley this morning and roads could be impacted throughout the day as one to two inches of fresh snow is forecast by the Storm Center 7 team of meteorologists.
Area law enforcement have reported slick road conditions in the area.
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Published: Thursday, December 28, 2017 @ 9:54 AM
Updated: Thursday, December 28, 2017 @ 12:05 PM
HARLAN TWP. — A man driving a truck, reportedly without the owner’s permission, was killed early Thursday in a single-vehicle crash on Ohio 132 in Harlan Twp., Warren County, according to investigators.
The crash occurred around 5:20 a.m. when a maroon 2000 Dodge Dakota pickup truck, operated by Abijah Nelson Chasteen Jr., 52, of Warren County, drove off the right side of the road and crashed into two large trees in the 6000 block of Ohi0 132, according to reports from the Warren County Coroner’s Office and Ohio State Highway Patrol.
RELATED: Initial story on this crash
Chasteen reportedly had been followed earlier by a friend of the vehicle’s owner and was not wearing a seat belt when the crash occurred, according to investigators.
Chasteen lived near the crash site on Ohio 132 in Morrow, but he was carrying a license indicating he lived in South Lebanon, according to Doyle Burke, chief investigator for the coroner’s office.
Chasteen was pronounced dead at the scene at 6:02 a.m., according to the coroner.
The truck was reportedly taken from Clinton County on Wednesday, Lt. Chuck O’Bryon of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said. The owner reported Chasteen was driving it without permission, O’Bryon added.
Troopers believe Chasteen knew the owner of the vehicle and are investigating the case as an unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, O’Bryon said.
Burke said he was told a friend of the vehicle’s owner spotted Chasteen driving the truck and followed him. The friend said he had been separated from Chasteen when he came upon the crash, Burke added.
Chasteen’s body was taken to the Montgomery County Coroner’s office for a full autopsy. The autopsy showed he died of multiple blunt force trauma, according to Burke.
The crash remains under investigation by the Lebanon Post of the highway patrol.