FINDLAY, OH (WTOL) - A severe fatal crash on I-75 northbound had traffic completely stopped for hours early Thursday in Hancock County.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Findlay Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol received a report at 12:48 a.m. of a multiple vehicle crash on northbound Interstate 75 near milepost 153 in Hancock County. Initial reports indicated the crash involved one semitrailer that was fully engulfed. Upon arrival, troopers discovered the crash involved four commercial motor vehicles, two of which were on fire.
Both northbound lanes had come to a complete stop due to construction work near the US 68 interchange. A northbound semitrailer being driven by Mark S. Moore, 58, of Goshen, Ohio, failed to maintain assured clear distance ahead and struck a stopped 2015 Freightliner being driven by Leroy A. Bennett, 47, of Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada. Bennett's truck was then pushed into the rear of a 2016 Freightliner being driven by Kenneth R. Ezekiel, 63, of Greenville, South Carolina, which then was pushed into another semitrailer, a 2016 Volvo being driven by William E. Tucker, 58, of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. The striking semitrailer driven by Moore immediately caught on fire, spreading flames to the semitrailer being pulled by Bennett.
Tucker and Bennett were transported from the scene to Blanchard Valley Hospital for non-life threatening injuries by Hanco EMS.
Moore suffered fatal injuries as a result of the crash and subsequent fire.
After being stopped for hours, traffic started to flow at noon, though slowly. All lanes northbound had to be closed so the fire could be fought.
The fire itself damaged the asphalt on the road, requiring traffic to be detoured to the next southernmost exit.
ODOT had to mill out the damaged asphalt and install emergency asphalt to get traffic flowing again.
Watch WTOL 11 at 5 p.m. for Jon Monk's interview with an Ohio State Highway Patrol sergeant to discuss the very latest on the accident.
The Findlay Post was assisted on scene by Liberty Township Fire, Mt. Cory/Union Township Fire, Hanco EMS, Dick's Heavy Wrecker Service, Ed's 24 hour Wrecker Service, Ohio State Highway Patrol Licensing & Commercial Standards Section and the Hancock County Sheriff's Office.
Alcohol or drug impairment is not believed to be a factor in this crash. The northbound lanes have been detoured for scene cleanup and roadway repair by ODOT. The crash remains under investigation.
An earlier crash near the rest stop also contributed to the backup.
Traffic is being instructed to take Exit 145 to State Route 235, County Road 313, County Road 9, State Route 12 back to I-75.
The Ohio Department of Transportation says pavement repairs are necessary for both lanes of northbound I-75 just south of the Lima Avenue Overpass and just north of the Hancock County rest stop.
Police are located at State Route 103/Exit 142 to Bluffton/Arlington encouraging motorists to exit sooner and avoid long delays.
ODOT says the ramp to the rest area is closed to vehicles, however the rest area is open and accessible to pedestrians stopped in traffic.
Avoid the area on your commute.