WAPAKONETA — A Wapakoneta man was killed in a wrong-way collision early Saturday morning on Interstate 75 near Cridersville.
At 12:55 a.m., dispatchers with the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) began receiving several reports of a pickup truck being driven south in the northbound lanes and troopers from both the Wapakoneta and Lima posts responded in an attempt to intercept the wrong-way motorist.
OSHP Commander Lt. Scott Carrico said before they were able to reach the motorist, he struck a commercial motor vehicle in a head-on collision.
As a result of the collision, both vehicles caught fire.
Duane Hower, 36, of Wapakoneta, was driving the 2000 Chevrolet pickup the wrong way and was believed to have been fatally injured in the collision, Carrico said.
He said it has not been determined if Hower was wearing a safety belt or if alcohol played a factor in the collision.
The driver of the commercial motor vehicle, Ajaib S. Nanreh, 49, of Brampton, Ontario, Canada, was able to escape his burning truck, but he suffered minor injuries and was transported by Cridersville EMS to Lima Memorial Hospital for treatment. Nanreh was wearing his safety belt at the time of the collision.
Interstate 75 was closed to traffic for a little more than 8 hours, until 9 a.m. Saturday, while crews cleared the roadway and conducted the investigation into the crash. Troopers with the Wapakoneta Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol continued to investigate the crash into Sunday evening.
They were assisted at the scene by the Cridersville Fire Department and EMS, Cridersville Police Department, Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio Department of Transportation, Auglaize County Engineer’s Office, and the Auglaize County Emergency Management Agency.