An unsafe lane change led to a three-vehicle crash on Interstate 75 between Liberty Way and Tylersville Road Friday, injuring two people and shutting down the highway for nearly six hours, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
The crash occurred at 9:10 a.m. when a 2006 Toyota Camry attempted to change lanes and collided with a 2017 Chevy Malibu, then separated and struck each other a second time, according to Lt. Clint Arnold of the highway patrol’s Hamilton Post.
A tanker truck carrying anhydrous ammonia swerved to avoid the two colliding vehicles, but collided with the Toyota, causing the tanker to jackknife and overturn.
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The driver of the Toyota was issued a traffic citation for unsafe lane change. Two people were taken to an area hospital with minor injuries.
OSHP diverted southbound traffic off I-75 and onto Ohio 63 for motorists to take local roads south around the crash site. The traffic backup from Ohio 63 and north stretched for several miles, according to motorists stuck on I-75.
Motorists between Ohio 63 and Ohio 129 were directed to exit at Ohio 129. Those stuck in traffic after the Ohio 129 exit but before the crash were directed to turn around and head north in the southbound lanes.
While such an unorthodox method of traffic diversion has happened before, “it’s not very common,” Arnold said.
“The big issue was, we had no idea how long the road was going to be shut down just based on the fact that it was a dynamic situation in which we did not know what outcome was going to be,” he said. “We needed to make sure there was nobody on the interstate for that long amount of time.”
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West Chester Fire Chief Rick Prinz said firefighters took care of those injured at the scene and then worked on making a decision to either upright the rig or transfer its contents to another tanker via a process that would have taken numerous additional hours, blocking the roadway well into rush hour.
“It was a blessing that the condition of the vehicle was in really, really good shape,” Prinz said. “It’s always more challenging when you have hazardous materials involved.”
Prinz said West Chester Fire Department did a “very good job,” one that was made possible through its partnering with OSHP, West Chester Police Department, Liberty Twp. Fire Department, Turtlecreek Twp. Fire Department, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Ohio Emergency Management Agency and Butler County EMA.
“All of our partners came together to help us mitigate this scene,” he said. “We couldn’t do what we do without these partnerships and we’re very happy to have those and make these incidents go as smoothly as possible.”
As with any incident, the department will have takeways it will evaluate and learn from to do better in the future, Prinz said.
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