LIBERTY, Ohio (WKBN) – A man passed away after a wrong-way crash in Liberty early Wednesday morning.
The driver of a Ford Flex drove into a semi-truck just before 1 a.m. along Interstate 80 near Route 711.
Troopers were initially heading to the area to intercept someone driving in the wrong direction on I-80.
Less than a minute after first receiving the call, the driver slammed into a semi-truck, so the semi-truck driver called 911.
“I was going, um, I’m on 80 westbound and there was a car coming from the wrong way and he hit me. There’s a car. I’m going to see if this guy is OK.”
The semi-truck driver was not hurt.
“He did the right thing. He tried to swerve to avoid it and it wasn’t directly a head-on, it was more of like a glance of the driver’s side of the commercial vehicle. It’s a very traumatic incident,” said Ohio State Highway Patrol – Warren Post Lt. Brian Vail.
Troopers say the wrong-way driver, now identified as 54-year-old Dennis Roller II, of Pensacola, Florida, was taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital, where he passed away. Roller was in town visiting family.
“We do believe alcohol was a factor in the crash. Obviously, we can’t put the message out enough to don’t get behind the wheel if you drink,” Vail said.
Investigators say they don’t know where Roller was coming from or which exit ramp he used to get onto the interstate in the wrong direction.
This is the 10th fatal accident in Trumbull County so far in 2019.
Vail says at this point last year, there was only one fatality. By the end of the year, 2018 had a total of 12 fatal accidents.
“There’s nothing identifiable. They’re all sporadic, they’re all out through the county, different roadways, different times, different days, different violations,” Vail said.
This latest crash remains under investigation.