New photos show scary outcome after vehicles struck by plow debris in Erie County, Ohio
“I truly thought my life was going to end that day,” one driver told the Ohio Turnpike Commission.
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Forty-four property damage claims have been filed since a snow plow driver damaged cars and caused accidents in Erie County on Jan. 23, according to the Ohio Turnpike Commission.
The claims come with new photos and documents that reveal the extent of the damage, injuries and trauma.
The commission said a plow truck driver was clearing the left shoulder of the westbound lanes and threw snow and debris over the median wall and onto oncoming traffic in the eastbound lanes, causing several drivers to crash.
At least 12 people were hurt, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
The injuries were not life threatening.
19 Investigates reviewed the property damage claims Thursday and found several drivers told the Ohio Turnpike Commission they were afraid the incident was going to turn deadly.
“I truly thought my life was going to end that day,” one driver from Brooklyn, N.Y. wrote in his claim to the state. “I lost complete visibility and almost slid into another car. You should be responsible for damages to my car and trauma.”
Another driver from Michigan said they called 9-1-1 “to request the snowplow to be stopped before he killed someone.”
“We swerved to miss other cars and saw a truck go through the guardrail and into the ditch,” the Michigan driver wrote. “The impact from the slush hitting the windshield was blinding and scary.”
A woman from Munroe Falls said the snow caused her windshield to shatter, sending pieces of broken glass into her eye.
“I couldn’t see where to drive and I knew semis were behind me,” she wrote in her claim.
The woman also said the broken windshield caused her vehicle’s rearview mirror to fly off and hit her in the face.
A driver from Lakewood called the incident the “scariest, worst experience of my life.”
OSHP identified the driver of the snow plow as a 54-year-old man from Berea.
He was placed on administrative leave following the incident and sent for mandatory drug and alcohol testing, according to the commission.
The Erie County Prosecutor is reviewing the incident and would decide if any charges would be filed.
“The Ohio Turnpike is one of the safest highways in the nation and is especially known for our ability to meet the demands of the most severe weather events,” Ferzan Ahmed, executive director of the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission, said in a statement on Jan. 24. “This was an isolated incident involving a single operator and is not representative of our employees or our operations.”
The commission said anyone who suffered damages as a result of the Jan. 23 plow incident may file a claim on the Ohio Turnpike website.
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