“Our thoughts are with the deceased individual’s family as well as everyone else who was involved in this tragic incident,” the sheriff said.
The van had its lights on with the deputy believed to be inside and the six inmates outside wearing vests when the van was struck from behind by the box truck, the sheriff 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, which is investigating the crash.
After the initial impact, the Ararmark 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 taken to the hospital with minor injuries, according to OSHP. The driver of the box truck and fourth vehicle reported possible minor injuries. What caused the box truck driver to go off the side of the highway was not released.
The highway was closed for around 5 hours due to the crash.
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 said the highway patrol investigators will work to find out all the particulars in the case and will release a report once completed.
“Everything is under investigation; we are very, very early,” Freeman said.
Streck said inmates in the volunteer work program were serving jail sentences. To be part of the program, an inmate cannot be a serious offender.
“You have to be normally an inmate who was well behaved and the charges are not the type that would (be serious enough) to cause an inmate to want to flee while they are out of jail,” Streck said.
Benefits to participating in the program include better visitation and meals, “but the main incentive for being part of the inmate worker program is that you get to leave the confinement of the jail and be out and about.”
The volunteer work program will be temporarily suspended, Streck said.
Mental health counseling will be made available to inmates involved in the program, who are housed together at the jail, the sheriff said.