Officials warn about driving while impaired after multiple Sunday morning crashes on I-90 in Bratenahl

BRATENAHL, Ohio -- The Ohio State Highway Patrol reports that one man was killed and others injured in a series of predawn crashes on Interstate 90 in Bratenahl early Sunday.

Troopers were summoned to the eastbound lanes of the interstate between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Eddy Road before 3 a.m.

Lt. Rob Gable said the first crash happened after 50-year-old James W. Blankenship of Willowick and his 26-year-old son stopped to help the driver of a disabled car.

"They had gone out there to I-90 to pick up a Mercury Grand Marquis that had become disabled on the berm. The Blankenships had a Dodge Ram with a fifth wheel trailer. They were out there attempting to retrieve that Mercury Grand Marquis," said Gable

"So they were outside the vehicle, alongside the road with the disabled vehicle and their own truck and trailer trying to remove that vehicle when the Kia Sportage traveled off the side of the road, on the shoulder and struck the elder Mr. Blankenship," Gable added.

James Blankenship was killed at the scene. His son was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries.

After hitting them, the Kia spun back out into the road where it was hit by another car that troopers said then left the scene.

Officials said the 36-year-old driver of the Kia was "absolutely impaired at the time of the crash."

After responding to that crash scene, a Bratenahl officer was involved in another crash.

The highway patrol said an officer in a marked patrol car with flashing lights was hit from behind by another eastbound vehicle which caused a chain reaction crash.

The patrol car then hit a vehicle that was stuck in the traffic backup from the fatal crash.

The officer was injured but has since been treated and released.

The driver who hit the cruiser was also injured. The occupants of the other two vehicles were not injured.

According to the highway patrol, all of the crashes are under investigation.

Troopers believe the driver of the car that hit the cruiser was also impaired.

Charges on all suspects are expected.

"This is just another example of someone consuming alcohol and or drugs and getting themselves into a position where they were a danger on the roadway and in this case, as far too often, there were catastrophic consequences to those decisions," said Gable.

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