Troopers from the Ashland Post are investigating two crashes that occurred Saturday evening just before 6:30 p.m. The crashes occurred in the southbound lanes of IR 71, in the area of the US 250 exit at milepost 186.
The first crash occurred when a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt driven by Dantoine Wright, 21, of Elyria, attempted to enter the right lane of IR 71 from the berm. A 2007 Chevrolet Equinox driven by Benjamin Ferrell, 34, of Dover, New Hampshire was southbound on IR 71 and struck the Cobalt. The Cobalt came to final rest on the right berm and the Equinox became disabled partially in the left lane. Mr. Ferrell exited his vehicle after the crash.
The next crash occurred when a 2012 Hyundai driven by Adrienne Meachem, 34, of Moriah, New York stopped behind the Equinox. Meachem was rear ended by a 2005 Honda driven by Maria Dicke, 25, of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Dicke's Honda was then rear ended by a 2015 Mazda driven by Leah Colocci, age 22, of Chesterland, Ohio. Dicke's Honda then struck the rear of the Equinox. Minor injuries were reported by Dicke and her passenger.
Troopers and the Ashland Fire Department responded and protected the scene. The driver of the Equinox, Mr. Ferrell, was unable to be located after the crashes and was thought to have left in the vehicle of a passerby. Mr. Ferrell was unable to be contacted and had not reported to family, nor was located in the area. Troopers went back to the scene at 11:26 P.M. and searched the area where the crash occurred. Mr. Ferrell was located under the bridge, in mud and water, where the crash occurred. The bridge is approximately 20' above the roadway. Ashland Fire Department responded to the scene and Ferrell was transported to Ashland Samaritan Hospital and then flown to MetroHealth Medical Center with serious injuries. It appears Ferrell fell from the bridge deck sometime during the second crash. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor and the crash remains under investigation.