SHEFFIELD LAKE, Ohio (WJW) – The victims of a wrong-way crash on the Shoreway in Cleveland last week are starting the long road to recovery and calling for change to prevent more deadly crashes in the future.
Charmain Woods, 50, died after driving a white SUV the wrong way into eastbound traffic on the Shoreway near West 45th Street Wednesday afternoon, according to investigators.
Police said Woods crashed into a Ford Explorer, driven by 49-year-old Todd Soper. His 14-year-old son Xander was in the front seat. They both suffered serious injuries.
“Todd says all he remembers is seeing a flash of white, and it was her white car coming at them,” said Tina Soper, his wife. “I was thankful because they were alive. I could hug them kiss them and they were alive. That’s all that I cared about.”
She said, a week later, Todd remains hospitalized with a broken pelvis and ribs, a dislocated hip and lacerated spleen.
“I’m just thankful I’m still here and so is my dad,” Xander said.
Xander is now home in Sheffield Lake and scheduled for a second surgery following multiple broken bones in his arm, leg and feet.
“I remember, after, my dad was telling me, ‘Don’t move, they’ll be here soon,’” he said.
While the cause of the crash remains under investigation, it happened in an area prone to wrong-way crashes.
About two years ago, the Cleveland Division of Police and the Ohio Department of Transportation began testing a wrong-way detection system at a nearby exit ramp from the westbound lanes of the highway to West 28th Street.
That detection system remains in place, but was not located in a position to be able to detect the driver in this crash.
“I’m lucky my family lived through this, but others aren’t,” Tina Soper said.
She’s calling for more action to prevent wrong-way crashes in the future.
“I want to see something change, so it doesn’t happen to anyone else,” she said.
An ODOT spokesperson said the agency is considering additional detection systems in Northeast Ohio, but nothing specific is planned at this time.
The Sopers said they are grateful for the outpouring of community support they’ve received.
A GoFundMe account has been created to help with the family’s medical expenses.