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Fatal crash closes I-70

HEBRON – I-70 was completely shut down and traffic diverted to US 40 through Hebron after a fatal three-vehicle crash near the Ohio 79 interchange Wednesday morning.

According to an Ohio State Highway Patrol news release, the Granville Patrol Post is investigating a crash initially involving a 1998 Mazda Millennia and a 2010 Dodge Caravan traveling eastbound on I-70, when the Mazda rear-ended the Caravan, sending both vehicles off the left side of the roadway and into the median cable barrier. The Mazda overturned across the barrier and slid into the I-70 westbound lanes, where a 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier struck the overturned Mazda. The Mazda’s driver was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene. The Cavalier driver was flown to OSU Medical Center. Emergency crews responded at approximately 4:50 a.m. and the crash remains under investigation.

Hebron Police Lt. Larry Brooks said diverting interstate traffic through Hebron congested traffic through the village, but “it kept flowing,” he said. “We had a plan in place.” He said the I-70 traffic caused no accidents in the village and traffic cleared by roughly 9:30 a.m.

ODOT District 5 Spokesperson Kate Stickle said ODOT did not activate its elaborate traffic flood plan, designed to deal with diverting traffic around the Ohio 79 interchange during flooding or long-term closure, when traffic was diverted through Hebron Wednesday morning. “We knew it wasn’t going to be long term,” she said. Also, lanes were shut down one at a time as the accident was addressed. I-70 was closed from approximately 5 to 9 a.m.

When flooding occurs or accidents cause long-term closure, ODOT can flip open permanent signs and use electronic message boards to warn I-70 traffic of the closure many miles each direction. Wednesday morning, however, crews used posted signs and the message boards to warn traffic.

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