A man who died in a crash involving a sheriff’s office transport van as he worked as part of an inmate work detail on I-75 was identified by authorities Tuesday as officials continued to investigate the crash.
Timothy Tufano, 52, was killed as he picked up litter on the side of the road as part of a volunteer work detail, the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
“Our thoughts are with the deceased individual’s family as well as everyone else who was involved in this tragic incident,” Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck said.
Tufano’s son, Andrew Tufano, described his dad as a family man.
“He loved us and we loved him,” Andrew Tufano told the Dayton Daily News.
Timothy Tufano was serving 90 days in jail in connection to a felony charge of operating a vehicle while under the influence (prior felony).
Andrew Tufano said his dad may have made poor choices, but it shouldn’t define him.
“He was struggling with losing his fiancee and that led to the DUI that put him in jail, but that’s not who he was,” Andrew Tufano said. “He was a dad and he was a grandpa. If I needed him, he was there, when I lost my daughter, Anabelle, he was there.”
“The only thing that gives me comfort is knowing that he’s with my daughter, they are together now,” Andrew Tufano said.
Monday’s crash that killed Timothy Tufano involved four vehicles shortly after 11 a.m. and led to I-75 South being shut down from U.S. 35 in Dayton to Ohio 741 in Moraine for more than five hours.
A Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputy was in a marked sheriff’s office transport van on the side of I-75 South with six inmate workers picking up litter on the side of the highway around 11:03 a.m. when it was hit by an Aramark box truck near Edwin C. Moses Boulevard, Streck said.
The impact pushed the transport van into the workers picking up litter, according to OSHP, which is investigating the crash.
Three other inmates and a deputy were taken to the hospital for treatment and released. Two inmates were not injured and returned to the jail where they received mental health counseling, Streck said.
One person on the litter crew suffered serious injuries, and two others on the work detail suffered minor injuries.
The deputy’s injuries also were minor.
The van had its lights on with the deputy believed to be inside and the six inmates outside wearing vests when the van was hit, Streck said.
“The driver of the box truck left his lane and hit the sheriff’s transport van,” said Lt. Geoffrey Freeman of the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Dayton Post.
After the initial impact, the Aramark box truck went left across the highway lanes and hit the concrete barrier. Then the third and fourth vehicles involved in the crash struck the box truck, he said.
The driver of one of the vehicles was transported to the hospital with minor injuries, according to OSHP. The driver of the Aramark box truck and the driver of the fourth vehicle reported possible minor injuries.
In a statement from Aramark, a spokeswoman said, “Our hearts go out to everyone involved and we’re cooperating fully with the investigation.”
Freeman said motorists should slow down and move over when a vehicle with a flashing light is on the side of the road. He added the highway patrol investigators will work to find out all the particulars in the case and will release a report once completed.
The volunteer work program has been temporarily suspended and mental health counseling will be made available to inmates involved in the program, the sheriff said.