AMHERST TWP. — Two children and a woman were injured in a multiple-vehicle crash Wednesday afternoon on state Route 2 at the Middle Ridge Road overpass.
The three people injured were in a Jeep Liberty, which was rear-ended by a box truck as traffic slowed for a crash farther east on state Route 2.
A woman was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland via ambulance, and the two children in the back of the Jeep — a 2-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl — were flown to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. The 2-year-old was originally taken to University Hospitals Amherst Health Center via ambulance, and later flown to Cleveland, while the 12-year-old was flown from the scene, with the helicopter landing on state Route 2.
According to Trooper Joseph Glascox, the 2-year-old is in critical condition.
The crash was one of several within a half-hour in the area, Amherst Assistant Fire Chief Brandon Dimacchia said.
The fire department first started heading to a smoking car in the median on Route 2, east of Broadway, at 3 p.m. No one was injured in that crash, which was in Elyria Township. A witness told first responders the driver had run from the scene to avoid troopers.
As Amherst firefighters were leaving the first crash, heading west on Route 2, Dimacchia said they saw a minor, two-vehicle crash on the overpass on Middle Ridge Road, about 3:25 p.m. There were no injures in that crash either, though a pregnant woman reportedly was involved.
The third crash, called in at 3:31 p.m., happened as traffic was slowing down for the smoking car near Broadway. A box truck rear-ended the Jeep Liberty — with both vehicles sustaining heavy damage. The back of the Jeep was caved in, and the children were extricated from the back of the vehicle by first responders.
The box truck also hit a Chevrolet Silverado pickup in its right side, causing it to hit the left rear end of a Subaru Outback. The passengers in the box truck, pickup and Subaru were unharmed. Another Jeep also was damaged by debris from the crash, Glascox said.
Glascox administered a field sobriety test to the driver of the box truck during the investigation. As the crash is still under investigation, charges are unknown at this time.
Mary Qiu, of Cleveland, was driving the Subaru on her way home from work when she was struck and spun out off the right side of the highway.
(The) traffic started to slow down, because I think there was an accident in front of me, so I started to slow down, too,” she explained. “So then I looked in my rearview mirror and there was some cars coming toward me really fast and I kind of screamed as I realized they were about to hit me. And then we got hit from behind really hard and then I just tried to pull off the side of the road to avoid getting hit from behind even more, so then my car spun into the grassy ditch to the side.”
She and her juvenile passenger were unharmed, something she attributes to the safety features in her vehicle.
“I wasn’t injured, my passenger wasn’t injured, my car was totaled,” she said. “But it held up really well.”
State Route 2 eastbound, between Middle Ridge Road and state Route 58, was closed for roughly two hours after the incident. ODOT reopened the road shortly after 5:30 p.m.