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I-80 crashes total 40 for Nov. 12

AUSTINTOWN — The official tally of vehicles involved in the Nov. 12 “double whammy” of crashes on Interstate 80 in Austintown is 40, the Ohio State Highway Patrol says.

The Canfield post commander last week said there were two waves of crashes that began at 10:18 a.m. in snowy conditions, beginning with a semi tractor trailer that lost control and landed on its side, blocking all westbound lanes of travel a couple of miles west of state Route 46.

The crashes caused major delays for traffic on the major east-west highway.

Sgt. Shaun Baskerville, assistant post commander, said 21 vehicles were involved in the pileup that developed behind the initial crash. Multiple people reported being injured but none seriously.

About 50 vehicles behind that, most of them commercial vehicles, were able to stop behind the first wave of vehicles.

The second wave of crashes involved 19 vehicles about three miles behind the initial crash scene, Baskerville said.

Involved in that wave was Alexander Penn, 22, of Youngstown, a passenger in a Chevrolet Equinox, who died of his injuries the next day at the hospital.

Also involved was William Bradford, 62, of Springfield, who was in a commercial vehicle and suffered serious injuries. He is now in stable condition, in St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital.

No one has been cited yet from any of the crashes as the investigation continues and the patrol attempts to talk to the last remaining individuals involved, Baskerville said.

A crash reconstruction unit is also completing its work on the episode, which includes obtaining data from vehicle air-bag modules to get a better idea of how fast the vehicles were traveling.

As of right now, the patrol believes the crashes occurred because of road conditions, following too closely, and unsafe speed. “I think it’s a combination of those things,” Baskerville said.