4 injured after semi-truck crashes into vehicles traveling on both sides on I-71

MONTVILLE TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Police say a multi-vehicle crash has left four people injured, two of whom are in critical condition, after a semi-truck hit a vehicle causing the driver to lose control, plow through the guardrail and hit another vehicle on the other side of the highway.

The crash happened on I- 71 near mile marker 217 in Medina County Sunday around 1:50 p.m.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said 52-year-old John Shirey of Salsbury, Tennessee, was driving a semi-tractor trailer, heading northbound on I-71.

OSHP said the semi swerved to the left and struck a Nissan driven by 38-year-old Kenneth Smith of Cleveland Heights.

Both the semi and the Nissan reportedly struck the guardrail, drove through the median and entered a ditch area.  The Nissan flipped over onto its roof and came to a final stop in the median.

The highway patrol said the semi continued traveling in the southbound lanes of I-71, striking a Dodge Ram pickup truck driven by 49-year-old Timothy Hay of Victor, New York.  The semi reportedly struck the sound barrier, coming to a final stop.

"We had three critical injuries. We landed three helicopters here and took three of the critically injured and airlifted them to area hospitals," said Montville Police Lieutenant Matthew Neil.

Shirey was transported to MetroHealth Medical Center and is in stable condition.

Smith was taken to Medina Hospital and is in stable condition.

Hay was taken to Akron General Hospital and is in critical condition.  The passenger in the pickup truck was taken to Akron City Hospital and is also in critical condition.

Despite the ominous looks of the terrible crash and the victims’ injuries, police said the victims were able to talk after the wreck.

"They were alert. I don't know how alert they were, but they were alert enough so they were able to assist in telling us where their injuries were," Neil said.

All lanes of I-71 southbound were closed for six hours while crews investigated the crash and removed the vehicles, according to OSHP.

Officials from Montville Police Department, Medina Township Police Department, Medina County Sheriff's Office and the Ohio Department of Transportation, as well as multiple emergency medical crews and towing companies, assisted with Sunday's accident.

The crash is still under investigation. Police said they could use help from any witnesses.

"Obviously there's a lot of traffic here on I-71. If anybody saw it, we ask them to call the Medina Post of the Highway Patrol -- if there were any witnesses to the accident itself," said Neil.