Ohio State Patrol troopers from the Ashland Post are investigating two crashes that occurred on December 20 around 6:17 p.m. in the southbound lanes of I-71, in the area of the US 250 exit at milepost 186.
The first crash occurred when Dantoine Wright, 21 of Elyria, attempted to enter the right lane of I-71 from the berm. Benjamin Ferrell, 34 of New Hampshire, was driving his 2007 Chevrolet Equinox southbound on I-71 when he struck Wright's vehicle.
Wright's 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt came to a rest on the right berm and the Equinox became disabled partially in the left lane. Ferrell exited his vehicle .
The next crash occurred when Adrienne Meachem, 34 of New York, was driving her 2012 Hyundai when she stopped behind the Equinox. Maechem was rear ended by a 2005 Honda driven by Maria Dicke, 25 of Chagrin Falls. Dicke’s Honda was then rear ended by a 2015 Mazda driven by Leah Colocci, 22 of Chesterland. 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 to the scene. Ferrell was unable to be located after the crashes and was thought to have left in a vehicle with a passerby. He was unable to be contacted, had not reported in with his family, and was not located in the area.
At 11:26 p.m., troopers went back to the scene and searched the area where the crash occurred. Ferrell was located under the bridge, in mud and water. He was transported to Ashland Samaritan Hospital and then flown to Cleveland Metro Hospital with serious injuries. Police report it appears Ferrell fell from the bridge deck sometime during the second crash.
According to MetroHealth Medical Center, Ferrell was still in critical condition as of Monday.