Crash victim died of internal injuries

Weather caused I-80 pileup in November

YOUNGSTOWN — The Mahoning County Coroner’s Office has ruled the Nov. 13 death of Alexander Penn, 24, of Orrin Avenue, was the result of injuries sustained in a weather-related crash Nov. 12 on Interstate 80.

The crash occurred in the midst of two waves of crashes on Interstate 80 that began near the Meander Reservoir and involved 40 vehicles. The 11 a.m. episode began in a “whiteout” of snow.

Penn was a rear-seat passenger in a 2011 Chevrolet Equinox that struck the side of a stopped semi tractor-trailer, according to an Ohio State Highway Patrol crash report.

The crash caused disabling damage to the right side of the Equinox. The semi had disabling damage to its left side. The driver of the semi suffered no apparent injuries.

The driver of the Equinox, Penn’s mother, Tonya Humphrey, 51, of Orrin Avenue, told troopers she suffered an injury, though troopers saw no apparent injury. She said she was not wearing a seat belt, but her son was. She estimated her speed at the time of the crash at 30 to 40 miles per hour.

Octavious Jones, a Mahoning County coroner’s investigator, said Penn had blunt-force injuries, but most of them were internal, so he had little outward signs of injury.

He did have some medical history, so it would be hard to say for sure whether those issues contributed to his death, Jones said. Penn’s autopsy was performed by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The Equinox was in the second wave of crashes back a few miles from where an overturned semi tractor-trailer first triggered a “domino” of crashes, the patrol said.

Humphrey called 911 from the crash scene, but because of traffic and bad weather conditions, ambulance personnel had difficulty finding the vehicle. They spoke with Humphrey over the phone to advise her how to perform CPR on her son.

Penn was transported from the scene by ambulance to St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The incident resulted in a massive traffic backup on the interstate and closure of parts of the highway throughout the day.



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