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Thursday, Sep. 16, 2021

Paulding woman killed in mega-crash

Ohio State Highway Patrol news

PAULDING COUNTY – A young Paulding woman died Tuesday morning when her vehicle was hit by a semi as she tried to cross a foggy U.S. 24 in Paulding County.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Van Wert Post investigated the multiple-vehicle fatal crash, which occurred Tuesday at approximately 7:59 a.m. on U.S. 24 at County Road 87 in Crane Township, Paulding County.

According to the Patrol, Ashley A. Messmann, 28, of Paulding, was driving a 2000 Chevy Blazer northbound on County Road 87, while Dale D. Janssens, 41, of Monroe, Mich., was operating an eastbound 2007 Volvo semi-truck and trailer on U.S. 24.

Messmann attempted to cross U.S. 24 in the fog and the eastbound Volvo semi-truck struck her sports utility vehicle. She was later pronounced dead at the scene by the Paulding County coroner.

The semi was hauling a tanker carrying 97 percent ethanol liquid, which was ruptured in the crash and approximately 1,500 gallons of flammable ethanol liquid leaked into the median. The hazardous spill posed no immediate threat to the local community and was contained by multiple fire departments and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Immediately after the accident, vehicles traveling east and west began to take evasive action to avoid the initial crash, resulting in seven more accidents that resulted in nine individuals being transported to numerous hospitals for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. Fourteen vehicles were involved in the crashes: 11 commercial vehicles, two passenger cars and a pickup truck hauling excavating equipment.

At the time of the crash, visibility was reported to be less than 100 feet due to the heavy fog.

Drivers involved in the subsequent crashes: Billy E. Pursley Jr, 49, of Loudonville, driving a 2013 Peterbilt semi; Gary J. Schleinkofer, 46, of Fort Wayne, Ind., driving a 2012 Nissan; Russell D. Williams, 38, of Auburn, Ind., driving a 2012 GMC dually pickup; Mark T. Van Deilen, 57, of Toledo, driving a 2011 Mack semi; Herbert E. Anderson III, 54, of Anderson, Ind., driving a 2006 Freightliner semi; Larry N. Dugat, 59, of Dixon, Mo., driving  a 2012 Peterbilt semi; Tommy R. Chandler, 60, of Fort Wayne, driving a 2011 Mack semi; Floyd E. Atha, 62, of Scottsburg, Ind., driving a 2007 International semi; Harry J. Suddon, 67, of Brighton, Mich., driving 2012 Volvo semi; Kyle M. Cavaleri, 43, of Panama City, Fla., driving a 2011 International semi; Douglas E. Bair, 54, of Findlay, driving a 2010 Freightliner semi; and David D. Higgins, 56, of Defiance, driving a 1994 Chrysler minivan.

The following sustained injuries in the crashes:  Pursley, Schleinkofer, a passenger, Linda A. Gessler, 69, of Fort Wayne, Williams, Van Deilen, Dugat, and Cavaleri.

The on scene cleanup was completed by SWS Environmental Services from Middle Point, Ohio and Marine Pollution Control from Detroit, Mich., assisted by Ohio EPA, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, Paulding and Defiance County EMA offices, and Ohio Department of Transportation personnel. U.S. 24 is now open again to the public.

Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash and seatbelt use is not known at this time. The crash remains under investigation.

POSTED: 02/06/13 at 7:41 am. FILED UNDER: News