Driver who died in crash with bus had crossed center line

Staff report


A witness said the driver who died in a head-on crash into a 10-passenger transport bus on state Route 305 on Aug. 14 crossed into the opposite lane of travel twice before the crash.

The driver, Michael Chismar, 49, of Cortland, died Monday in St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, six days after the 8:30 a.m. crash on state Route 305 west of state Route 193.

The witness, who was traveling behind Chizmar, said Chizmar’s Cadillac Escalade went left of center “almost striking a mailbox on the opposite side of the road, prior to going left of center a second time and striking the bus,” according to an Ohio State Highway Patrol crash report.

A witness in front of Chizmar’s vehicle also reported seeing the Cadillac go left of center before the crash.

The report says there were eight people involved in the crash – six in the bus and one person in each of the other two vehicles. Most had incapacitating injuries, and all were taken to one of two area hospitals.

Chizmar and one of the five passengers in the 10-passenger Siffrin bus – Judy Lucarelli, 71, of Warren – were in critical condition the day after the crash.

Lucarelli had punctured lungs, internal-organ cuts and fractures to her spine and other bones. The bus driver, Jennifer Thorn, 35, of Newton Falls, had broken bones and chest pain. The driver of a Dodge Durango that hit the back of the bus after the initial collision, Jacqueline Williams, 35, of Windor, had shoulder and chest pain.

Another bus passenger, Justin Miller, 29, of Cortland, suffered a fractured hip and pelvis, as well as cuts and scrapes.

Other bus passengers were Richard J. Krzys, 61, of Warren; Olivia Cozad, 23, of Cortland; and Natalie Morgan, 22, of Warren.

Siffrin provides nonmedical transportation services to people with disabilities, according to its website.

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