Two fatalities identified, several others injured in US-23 crash in Delaware County

Serious accident closed US-23 north of Worthington. (Courtesy: James Hartley)

Ohio State Highway Patrol is trying to figure out what caused a crash that killed two people and injured several others on US-23 near the Franklin County and Delaware County line. The crash happened around 10:50 a.m. Thursday.

"I was sitting very close to the window and heard a very loud boom," said Justin Stobbs who was getting his airbags fixed at the Mitsubishi dealership feet away from where the crash happened. "It was more the reaction from the employees on site that had me perk up."

He said several people ran outside to help.

"I ran back into the dealership and said, 'blankets, anything you have'," he said. "They had boxes for personal belongings, a lot of adrenaline."

Two cars were badly damaged while a semi-truck and another car had minor damage.

Troopers said a northbound Toyota Corolla, driven by 55-year-old Robert Fish of Columbus, crossed the center lane and struck a southbound Ford Focus driven by 47-year-old Robert Turner, of Columbus, head-on. The impact forced the Ford into the path of an oncoming semi driven by 36-year-old Haram Soto-Acevedo, of Detroit, which then collided into the driver's side of the Focus.

Fish and one all of his passengers, 54-year-old Lisa Hiles of Columbus, 31-year-old Jacqueline Morrison of Thornville and 34-year-old Ricky Weekley Jr. of Columbus, were taken to Riverside Hospital for their injuries. Fish and Hiles, the front-seat passenger, did not survive. None of the occupants were wearing their seat belts.

Turner, the driver of the Ford, was taken to Riverside Hospital with serious injuries. The semi driver, Soto-Acevedo, was not injured.

Another vehicle, a Nissan Altima driven by 69-year-old Ted Disanto of Grove City, was struck by debris from the first collision. DiSanto was also uninjured. Turner, Soto-Acevedo, and Disanto were all wearing their seat belts.

"I've never seen anything like it," he said. "Pretty intense."

US-23 was closed for several hours while troopers investigated and cleaned up the debris.

"It's such a dangerous spot," said Andy Backs who was also getting his car serviced at the Mitsubishi dealership. "There's no (traffic) light to kind of guide the traffic."

Stobbs said there were several people hurt but still conscious. He didn't realize how devastating the crash was at first.

"I heard somebody may not have made it so I feel badly for that family," Stobbs said. "I just hope people realize, drive safe, be careful."

Alcohol and/or drug use is unknown, troopers said.

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