TWINSBURG, Ohio – Hundreds of people gathered in Twinsburg Sunday for a large fundraiser to help the families of four people who were struck by a wrong-way driver this past summer.
After four friends enjoyed a day of fun at Cedar Point in early August, their drive back home to Northeast Ohio turned into heartbreak and tragedy.
The crash happened on Interstate 90 east near the West 85th Street overpass. Cleveland police said Michael Kantos, 58, entered the highway at West 25th Street going the wrong way before hitting another vehicle.
He died in the crash, and so did the driver and a passenger from the other car.
The victims were identified as Maxfield Ligon, 19, of Reminderville and Cidney Nicole Thomas, 20, of Bedford Heights. Two more passengers, both 19-year-old women, were critically injured and are slowly recovering.
Police said Kantos was likely drunk at the time of the crash.
Sunday afternoon, hundreds of people came out to Sassy’s Bar and Grille in Twinsburg to show their support for the four victim’s families and to raise money to help with various expenses.
Scott Spencer’s 19-year-old daughter Courtney attended the packed fundraiser in her wheelchair. She suffered such serious injuries, that just last week she was able to finally stand up for the first time since the crash two months ago.
“Eight surgeries and a lot of damage. It’s just been a day by day process getting her back,” said Courtney’s father Scott Spencer.
Courtney’s dad was moved by the show of support from the huge crowd that showed up for the fundraiser.
“Look around at all of these people supporting, giving of their time, this space, food, just for all of these families. It’s pretty amazing,” Scott said.
Many people volunteered and made donations to the fundraiser, including eight bands who played for free.
Most of those who attended didn’t even know the victims or their families, but wanted to help anyway.
“It can happen to anyone and it’s a tragedy,” said John Hepke. “It’s a sad story so anything we can do to help the families, that’s why we came here.”
Sunday’s fundraiser was called Heart 4 Healing in honor of the four victims.