AUGLAIZE COUNTY, Ohio — Two people died March 7 during a tragic crash in Saint Johns involving a semi and an SUV.
Local authorities identified the victims as the SUV driver, 78-year-old Warren Smith, of Huntsville, Ohio, and his passenger, 78-year-old Patricia Smith.
Warren Smith reportedly failed to yield to an approaching semi traveling west on U.S. 33 while his SUV was at a stop sign on State Route 65 to turn onto U.S. 33. The driver of the semi, 69-year-old Larry Floyd, of Indiana, hit the SUV in the intersection, pushed it off the roadway, through a fence, and into a tree. As a result, the SUV split in half.
Emergency personnel extracted the Smiths from the vehicle. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
Floyd was treated for minor injuries.
Authorities said all persons involved were wearing seatbelts when the crash occurred and alcohol does not appear to have been a contributing factor.
An investigation into the accident is underway and no additional information has been released.
Commentary on double fatality in Auglaize County
I am deeply disturbed to hear of this horrific crash that claimed the lives of two individuals. My heart goes out to Warren and Patricia Smith’s families during what I know is an immensely difficult time.
The crash sequence detailed by local authorities who are investigating this collision raises questions about the SUV involved, including several about the crashworthiness of the vehicle.
The law recognizes that auto manufacturers know that their vehicles will periodically be involved in accidents and requires them to build vehicles that are crashworthy for all types of reasonably foreseeable crashes. During my 30+ years of practice as a personal injury attorney, I’ve seen countless instances where people have been hurt or killed because an auto manufacturer put profits over people, and failed to design and manufacture crashworthy vehicles that perform as safely as economically and technologically feasible.
Because the SUV split in half after it was struck by the semi, I cannot help but wonder whether it was properly designed and manufactured. A thorough investigation will need to be conducted by attorneys experienced in this area of the law to determine whether the auto manufacturer upheld their duty to produce a crashworthy vehicle or failed to do so.
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