Troopers need public’s help in deadly turnpike pile-up - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Troopers need public’s help in deadly turnpike pile-up investigation

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Sandusky County, Ohio - We have new details in last week's massive pile-up on the turnpike in Sandusky County which left three people dead and a trooper hurt.

The preliminary investigation shows three things are to blame: bad weather, slick roads, and driver error.

Troopers say motorists, including lots of big trucks, were driving too fast.

Investigators soon plan to submit the report to the Sandusky County Prosecutor for possible charges, which are expected to include anywhere from simple traffic citations to vehicular manslaughter.

State troopers, some in street clothes on their day off, continue to piece together the deadly pile-up on the turnpike last week.

"I haven't seen anything like that in my career and obviously hope to never see it again," says Lt. Brett Gockstetter, the commander of the Milan post.

The preliminary investigation shows whiteout weather, slick roads, and driver error played a part in the series of chain reaction crashes involving 50 vehicles.

"When you have bad snow covering the road, limited visibility, you need to drive with due caution," says Gockstetter. "You can't drive the speed limit or even close to the speed limit when you have those conditions."

Investigators are now asking the public for help.

They need more pictures snapped on cell phones from the two-mile scene.

Troopers are looking for the driver of a blue car hauler seen in one picture from a bystander.  The trailer had a Ford pick-up truck on the top level.  Lt. Gockstetter says the driver of the car hauler witnessed one of the fatal crashes and left the scene.

"We just want to talk to him," says Gockstetter. "We know they're not at fault for it, but we want him to come forward to help us out and put some information in our hands that we need."

Anyone with pictures is encouraged to call the Milan post at 419-499-4808.

Meanwhile, Trooper Andrew Clouser sends a heartfelt "thank you" from the hospital for all of the Get Well cards he has received.

On March 12th, Clouser responded to one of the first crashes and got pinned between two vehicles.  He remains at St. V's in Toledo in fair condition.

Clouser's co-workers say once he's released from the hospital, he'll undergo physical therapy and eventually return to the job he loves.

"He's very grateful. We're very grateful that it wasn't worse," says Gockstetter. "He will be able to keep his legs. We expect him at some point to return back to work."

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