West Chester man driver in crash that killed woman, infant in Clermont County

A woman and infant were killed in a crash Sunday, June 19, 2022, on state Route 222 near Batavia in Clermont County. TYLER PISTOR/WCPO

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A woman and infant were killed in a crash Sunday, June 19, 2022, on state Route 222 near Batavia in Clermont County. TYLER PISTOR/WCPO

Neighbors say there’s not enough warning of sharp curve.

A West Chester Twp. man was the driver of a car that crossed a center line on a curve Sunday afternoon and crashed into another car, killing his two passengers: a woman and infant.

The crash happened around 4:45 p.m. in the 3900 block of state Route 222 near Batavia in Clermont County.

A 2007 Honda Civic driven by Juan Jimenez of West Chester was traveling south when it crossed the center line and struck a 2020 Ford Fusion headed north, according to a release from the Batavia Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Maria Rodriguez, a passenger in the Civic, and an infant passenger were both pronounced dead at the scene, according to the release.

Reginaldo Jimenez, an additional passenger in the vehicle, was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center with serious injuries. Juan Jimenez was taken to Anderson Mercy Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.

The driver of the Fusion was taken to Anderson Mercy Hospital with minor injuries.

State Route 222 was closed for several hours Sunday between Elklick and Mount Holly roads for several hours.

The crash remains under investigation.

Neighbors in the area of the crash say the road is dangerous and there’s not enough time for motorists to react. It’s a sharp curve that has a speed limit of 25 mph that’s coming off a 55 mph zone.

“Just last week I said to ODOT, ‘what is it going to take? A death?’ And it happened,” said Dave Owens, who lives in the area of the crash.

Cathy Berchtold said she was sitting on her back patio when she and her sister heard tires screeching. They called 911 to report the crash that killed Rodriguez and an infant and ran over to help before the ambulance arrived.

“My sister did CPR on the infant on the street, so I put a towel on the baby’s head. She was probably 4 or 5 months old,” she said.

Berchtold said she and her neighbors feel helpless.

“(There is) not enough notice of the dangerous curve ahead,” she said.

After Sunday’s fatal crash, Berchtold purchased yellow signs to put in front of her home, hoping it will slow drivers down.

ODOT was closed Monday in observance of the Juneteenth holiday and unable to comment on roadway dangers.

“Last thing that (ODOT) said was they’re looking into it, so hopefully they do,” Owens said.

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