Video shows car going wrong way in fatal head-on crash on I-71

Video shows car going wrong way in fatal head-on crash on I-71
Head-on collision on I71 SB. (Source: ODOT)
Two killed in I-71S crash. (Source: WOIO)
Two killed in I-71S crash. (Source: WOIO)
Driver was going the wrong way. (Source: WOIO)
Driver was going the wrong way. (Source: WOIO)
Lakesha Brown (Source: Facebook)
Lakesha Brown (Source: Facebook)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland police said 22-year-old Kenneth Urbanek was driving the wrong way on Interstate 71 early Tuesday morning, when he hit another vehicle head-on killing the other driver, 33-year-old Lakesha Brown. Urbanek was also pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash happened at about 2:45 a.m., under the West 140th Street bridge.

"She was coming home from work, just doing what she normally does, just coming home from work, just wrong place at the wrong time," said Brown's aunt Florence Ortiz-Munoz.

There were five 911 calls. One caller told a dispatcher, "There was a guy driving down the highway the wrong way, coming at me in other words...he was going north on 71 south."

Another caller said, "There's a car going the wrong way on 71."

Video obtained from ODOT shows two clips, one of Urbanek's Chevy Cobalt driving north in empty southbound lanes. The next clip shows the car encountering traffic, turning around a bend, and hitting Brown's vehicle head-on.

Cleveland 19 spoke to Brown's family as they gathered together after hearing the horrible news.

"Our faith is going to carry us through this, and we just want to thank those people who are behind us and are supporting us," said Ortiz-Munoz.

Ortiz-Munoz remembers a lively young woman who loved her 13-year-old daughter and was close with her cousins.

"Lakesha, she loved life. Anybody who knew her, she always made a joke about everything she never let the small things get to her," said Ortiz-Munoz. "She tried to enjoy life as much as she could. She loved to dance. She loved to meet people. She was very caring, she was the kind of a person if you were stopped on the side of the street and she could help you that's the kind of person she was."

She said their family has had many trials this past week, which makes her niece's death that much more difficult to comprehend.

"[I feel] disbelief, because like I just said my sister-in-law has to have open heart surgery, just found out that my brother-in-law has to have brain surgery so it's like and one of our best friends just passed away on Tuesday, so we're like this just can't be possible this just can't," said Ortiz-Munoz.

Both Brown and Urbanek were pronounced dead at the scene.

"I'm just thankful that it was quick, she didn't suffer any pain, and that's all we can ask for," said Ortiz-Munoz.

She said she thanks everyone for their continued prayers for her family.

Cleveland 19 contacted one of Urbanek's friends who said of the 22-year-old Lakewood man, "Kenny's a great guy. Always had a smile on his face" He asked that his name not be used.

Police said alcohol may have played a role in the crash.

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