Chain reaction crash leads to mystery after driver seems to vanish

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MONTGOMERY TWP., Ohio- The Ohio State Highway Patrol continues to investigate a pair of crashes during which one of the drivers involved ended up plunging 20 feet from an Interstate 71 bridge.

The first crash happened around 6:17 p.m. when the driver of a Chevrolet Cobalt was struck from behind by a Chevrolet Equinox while attempting to enter the right lane of I.R. 71 from the berm.

Authorities said the driver of the Equinox, Benjamin Ferrell, 34, of Dover, New Hampshire, exited his vehicle after the crash, then seemed to vanish.

"We got a report from the passenger who was now sitting in the driver's side, in the driver's seat of that vehicle that said that the driver was no longer there and the information we got at the scene was that he got into another vehicle and left the scene," said Lt. Raymond Durant of the Ohio Highway Patrol.

"We checked with the local hospital to ensure that he wasn't taken to the hospital and just making calls and talking to the other people involved in the crash asking: 'Did you see another person that was on the scene?' and we didn't get anything from any of the other drivers or anything," said Durant.

Durant said the Highway Patrol put Ferrell's information into a statewide network to see if he would turn up anywhere else and troopers were also looking along the interstate to see if he might have just walked away.

"We are starting to receive calls from Mr. Ferrell's family saying they have not heard from him or anything and they want to file like a missing persons report," said Durant.

Ultimately, a trooper went back to the scene of the crash and investigated underneath the bridge where it happened.

That's where they found Ferrell about five hours after the crash.

He had plunged about 20 feet over the edge of the bridge severely injuring himself when he landed on rocks and mud below.

Ferrell was flown to MetroHealth Medical Center with serious injuries and as of Monday had not been able to talk with investigators about how or why he ended up going over the edge of the bridge.

"We had out technical crash team come out and looking at the vehicles, looking at the evidence at the scene, looking at where his final rest, where he came to rest at. We have our investigators involved; a lot of people are involved. We are trying to tell the full story. It's under investigation so we don't know exactly how he ended up where he did, but by the time the investigation is over we plan on having a great bit of information available," said Durant.