Responding to a Fatal Crash

by Emily Baird on June 10, 2010 at 3:20 am

It is a day local rescue crews won’t soon forget. Five lives were lost on Interstate 70 in a grueling car crash.

I spoke with crews to see how they did everything they could to help those involved.

"The intensity is what drains you. It’s similar to a house fire because of the intensity level that you are constantly working to do everything you can while there’s still time, " says National Trails Assistant Fire Chief, Steve Dupler.

Their department was the first crew to respond to the two car accident. Dupler says he couldn’t believe his eyes, but he says he couldn’t let emotion stand in the way of his job.

"You try to do scene assessment, find out safety and all the hazards, and obviously checking on the injured, " says Dupler.

A woman and child were injured in the van and immediately taken to the hospital, but the 3 adults and 2 children in the Chevy Cavalier weren’t as lucky. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol says the car suffered immense damage from the point of impact.

"When a vehicle is hit in the side the way the car was because when the car came across the median, it came across sideways. So, even though it’s considered a head-on crash, the vehicle was at a side angle. That’s where there is not a lot of structural part of the car to take that shot, to take the damage from that," says OSHP spokesman Sergeant Max Norris.

It was extremely difficult to get to the five individuals.

"We used our rescue tools and then Falls Township also assisted us on this with a medic and one of their rescue crews. So, we used everything we had, and it still took us a while to deal with all this, " says Dupler.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol will now conduct its investigation into the cause of the crash, using witness statements, marks from the roadway, and the states and positions of the vehicles. It is also having its reconstruction unit use something called a "total station."

"They’re going to map the scene out where they can get a 3-D view of it on a computer and be able to get a lot more information for the crash report, " says Sergeant Norris.

This is the second fatal crash the Zanesville Post of the OSHP has covered in a week.