WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – A wrong-way driver slammed head-on into another vehicle, killing both men behind the wheel. The victim, headed home from a gig, was also a popular radio DJ in Northeast Ohio for decades.
Whether you listened to country or rock-and-roll, you may have heard the name DJ Dan “Foz” Fazio.
He has been a fixture on the radio in Cleveland and Akron, and you may have heard him on the turntables at a wedding or other event as well.
“It’s tragic, we’re all so shocked around the station, but he just had this incredible smile and personality that not only lit up the radio, but he would come and visit and he would just light up the whole station,” said Sarah Kay, programming director and morning co-host at WMQX-FM in Akron.
No matter how people knew him, they describe him as the life of any party.
“People call us DJs, but Foz was a real DJ… because we’re not DJs, we’re just on-air personalities,” said Kay.
She says DJ Foz started working there on weekends about two and a half months ago.
“I didn’t see Foz much, but you hear him, I heard him on the air, we texted a lot, we emailed. There was a lot of email correspondence,” said Kay.
Warrensville Heights police say at 2:48 a.m. Saturday, 47-year old Fazio was traveling southbound on Interstate 271 when he was struck by a vehicle driving the wrong direction.
The other driver, 31-year old Luis Caban Medina, of Cleveland, struck Fazio head-on, killing both drivers.
“Foz’s wife got ahold of me Saturday morning because she said that, obviously she wanted to let me know because he was working Saturday night,” said Kay.
Foz was not just known as a voice on the radio. He DJed weddings and other events and was a fixture at the Twinsburg “Twins Days” annual festival.
Dom Nardella, current WNCX brand manager, was the music director for Xtreme radio in Cleveland when Foz was a part-time weekend DJ in the early 2000s.
He released this statement, “We were saddened to hear of Foz’s passing. He was one of the original voices on Xtreme Radio when we launched the radio station, and he will certainly be missed.”
“He always said ‘peace, love and rock and roll,’ and he would do that and we’d tease him and be like, ‘we’re not rock and roll,’ so he would just say, ‘peace, love and see ya,'” said Kay.
WQMX Akron plays country music. Kay says that did not matter. Fazio had a love for radio, regardless of the format.
“We always joked that radio is kind of like the mafia. It pulls you back in, you think you’re out, but you always get back in and he just took the opportunity and ran with it,” she said.
DJ Fazio leaves behind a wife, Jessica.
Warrensville Heights police say the crash remains under investigation.