Fatal accident in Fremont involving snow plow - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Fatal accident in Fremont involving snow plow

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A driver rear-ended an ODOT truck and was killed in the accident on Sunday night.

It is the first fatal accident involving an ODOT snow plow this winter statewide.

Lt. Matthew Meredith with the Fremont post of the State Highway Patrol says 22-year-old Daniel Johnson of Helena died after his car rear ended an ODOT snow plow driven by 54-year-old Donald Schlea, also from Helena.  Schlea was injured and transported to Fremont Memorial Hospital. Schlea is now home from the hospital recovering from his injuries.

The crash happened Sunday at 8:52 p.m. on U.S. 6 near mile post 16, just west of S.R. 19 in Sandusky County.  The Ohio Highway Patrol says Johnson was driving east on U.S. 6 in a 2002 Pontiac Bonneville when he rear-ended a 2006 International Dump Truck (ODOT snow plow) in the right lane of U.S. 6. The snow plow came to a rest in the middle of U.S. 6 and Johnson's car came to a rest on the right shoulder of U.S. 6 east.

"We talked to his family and they say he was on his way to work. He needed to be at Crown Battery," says Lt. Meredith of Johnson.

Both drivers were wearing seat belts.

The crash remains under investigation.  Troopers do not suspect alcohol or speeding were factors.

"For some reason he wasn't paying attention to what's out in front of him," says Lt. Meredith of Johnson.  "Could be texting. Could be doing something in the car. Obviously there's a reason. There's some distance between that overpass and where the ODOT truck was actually stopped that he should've been able to see the flashing green and white and yellow lights and know that there was a vehicle there."

The Sandusky County Sheriff's Office, Sandusky Township Fire and EMS, Fremont Police Department, and the Ohio Department of Transportation assisted at the scene.

ODOT District 2 spokesperson Theresa Pollick, says, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those involved in Sunday's crash.  The crash remains under investigation by the Ohio State Highway Patrol Fremont post. "

Pollick says Schlea was driving a truck with green lights flashing on the top.  ODOT began putting flashing lights on ODOT snow plows two years ago to help make the trucks more visible.  Pollick says this year it has been in "full implementation" on all trucks.  Pollick tells 13abc over the phone, "You can't miss the plows."

So far this snow and ice season, there have been 80 accidents statewide involving ODOT trucks. That is up from 52 last winter. The state says that's because this winter, crews are spending more time clearing highways.

However, ODOT says this is an improvement from 2010-2011 when plows were involved in 108 crashes.

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