OSHP: Other crashes have happened in same area where fatal Turnpike crash happened

Posted at 6:55 PM, Aug 15, 2016

About a dozen other minor crashes have recently happened in the same area where a fatal, multi-car crash happened on the Ohio Turnpike Sunday, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

“It was just a bad situation with all of the weekend traffic heading home on a Sunday night," said Lt. Richard Reeder of the Ohio State Highway Patrol's Milan post.

The accident happened at mile post 110 eastbound on the turnpike. It's an area that has been under construction since April where traffic is condensed into single lanes. Slow downs and abrupt stops, especially during heavy traffic times, are common.

The victim killed in Sunday's crash has been identified by State Highway Patrol as 14-year-old Madison Creagan of West Shokan, NY. Troopers said a semi slammed into the back of the family's Ford F-150 pick-up. Creagan's brother suffered serious injuries. Their dad was driving the car.

State Highway Patrol said 40-year-old Chavan Carter of Powder Springs, GA was driving the semi that caused the crash, which in turn set off a chain reaction involving 10 vehicles. Seven people were injured.

“Because of this crash and the magnitude of what he did, the vehicles were thrown everywhere, and it completely stopped up that lane," added Reeder.

Carter is charged with aggravated vehicle assault and aggravated vehicle homicide because State Highway Patrol said he failed to move to the far right lane in the construction zone. The accident happened in the far left lane.

State Highway Patrol said Carter is a new employee at Natex Group, Inc., a trucking company out of Wheeling, Ill. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records show the company started June 28, 2016. It employs five drivers.

State Highway Patrol said they are investigating whether outside factors like drugs, alcohol or texting played a role in the crash. Carter did not appear to have any criminal record.

The Ohio Turnpike declined NewsChannel 5's request for an interview. In a written response, the agency sent the statement below and said construction in the area of mile post 110 will be complete by late November. Crews are working everyday.

The Ohio Turnpike issued a statement: The Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission extends its deepest sympathies to the Creagan family. Unfortunately, driver behavior remains the primary factor in nearly all fatal accidents that occur on our nation’s highways. Having said that, the Ohio Turnpike remains one of the safest roads in the nation as indicated by our low fatal crash rate per vehicle miles travelled. We continue our efforts to educate motorists and commercial vehicle drivers on the importance of observing all traffic laws, including posted speed limits, and focusing on the task of driving without distractions."

Data from the turnpike indicates that the number of accidents have decreased in the last two years but the number of fatalities have inched higher. There were 8 fatalities on the turnpike in 2013, 9 in 2014 and 11 in 2015.