Father, son latest killed as Ohio wrong-way crashes spike

A Massachusetts man and one of his young sons killed Tuesday night on Interstate 71 in Warren County were the 31st and 32nd victims of wrong-way crashes this year in Ohio.

Jordan Rivard, 41, of Greenfield, Mass., and his 5-year-old son Jaydan, died in the crash reported at 8:11 p.m., about 1-1/2 miles south of the Ohio 123 interchange, according to the Ohio Highway Patrol and Warren County Coroner’s Office.

Another son, 3, Landyn, was undergoing treatment at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, according the Ohio Highway Patrol.

It was the second fatal wrong-way crash in the past eight days in Warren County.

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The 32 deaths in wrong-way crashes are almost twice the number in any year dating back to 2013, according to Ohio Department of Transportation data.

The Lebanon post commander acknowledged the spike in wrong-way fatals in Ohio.

“I’m not sure why,” Lt. Chuck O’Bryon said Wednesday. “We’re trying to formulate a plan to correct them.”

The statewide totals include an alcohol-related crash in Belmont County that claimed five lives, according to ODOT.

“We really need people to pay attention and drive sober,” ODOT Press Secretary Matt Bruning said.

Rivard and his sons were traveling Tuesday to the children’s mother’s home in Berea, Kentucky, area, O’Bryon said.

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Moments before the crash occurred, around 8 p.m., reports came in that an SUV was traveling northbound on I-71 SB, according to a release from the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Preliminary investigations showed that a 2016 Ford Explorer was traveling northbound when it struck a 2017 Freightliner, driven by Mohamed Omar, 31, of Seattle, Wash.

Rivard and a juvenile passenger were pronounced dead on the scene. A second juvenile passenger was transported to the hospital in Cincinnati.

Omar was transported to the Bethesda Arrow Springs Hospital, where he was treated for his injuries.

On Nov. 18, Vestle Ridenour, 83, of Morrow, died and Seth Meintel, 19, of Lebanon was seriously injured Monday in Ohio’s 25th wrong-way fatal crash this year.

The crash was reported about 11:40 p.m. on the Ohio 48 bypass in Lebanon.

Ridenour was driving south in the northbound lanes of the road when his white 2003 Chevrolet S-10 crashed head-on into a 2006 silver Saturn Ion, driven by Meintel.

Emergency crews rescued Meintel from his car, and he was taken to Miami Valley Hospital with severe injuries. He was listed in critical condition Tuesday at the hospital in Dayton.

Ridenour was pronounced dead at the scene, apparently due to blunt-force trauma, according to preliminary results from the Warren County Coroner’s Office.

Ridenour’s night-time driving privileges were restricted, according to O’Bryon of the Ohio Highway Patrol.

“We’re not sure why he was out that late at night,” O’Bryon said at the time.

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There was another similarity between the two recent wrong-way fatals in Warren County: Both occurred shortly after reports of a wrong-way driver near where the crash occurred.

The crash in which Ridenour died occurred about seven minutes after another driver reported a wrong-way driver on the Ohio 48 Bypass, a four-lane divided highway that starts at the intersection with U.S. 42, on the northeast side of Lebanon.

Fatalities in Wrong-Way Crashes in Ohio

2019: 32

2018: 15

2017: 16

2016: 18

2015: 8

2014: 7

2013: 11

Source: Ohio Department of Transportation

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