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State patrol provides details on fatal US24 crash
Thursday, February 07, 2013 4:04 PM

CECIL – Heavy fog contributed to a massive 14-vehicle crash on Feb. 5 that left one person dead and seven injured and closed a section of US 24 for nearly 36 hours.


The Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Van Wert Post continues to investigate the fatal crash that occurred at approximately 7:59 a.m. Tuesday on US 24 at County Road 87 in Crane Township, Paulding County.

Ashley A. Messmann, age 28, of Paulding, was driving a 2000 Chevy Blazer northbound on County Road 87. Dale D. Janssens, age 41, of Monroe, Mich., was driving a 2007 Volvo semi-truck and trailer eastbound on US 24. Messmann attempted to cross US 24 and was struck by the eastbound Volvo semi-truck.

The Volvo was hauling a tanker carrying 97% ethanol liquid. The tanker was ruptured in the crash and approximately 1,500 gallons of flammable ethanol liquid leaked into the median. The hazardous spill posed no immediate threat to the local community and was contained by multiple fire departments and the EPA.

Messmann was pronounced dead at the scene by the Paulding County coroner. For obituary information, click here.

It is reported that Janssens was wearing his seat belt and Messman was found not to be wearing her seat belt at the time of the crash.

Due to heavy fog and low visibility, vehicles traveling east- and westbound began to take evasive action to avoid the initial crash, resulting in seven more crashes and several individuals being transported to numerous hospitals for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

Fourteen vehicles were involved in the crashes; 11 commercial vehicles, two passenger cars and a pickup truck hauling excavating equipment.

Drivers involved in the subsequent crashes:

Billy E. Pursley Jr., age 49, from Loudonville, driving a 2013 Peterbilt semi

Gary J. Schleinkofer, age 46, from Fort Wayne, driving a 2012 Nissan

Russell D. Williams, age 38, from Auburn, Ind., driving a 2012 GMC dually pickup

Mark T. Van Deilen, age 57, from Toledo, driving a 2011 Mack semi

Herbert E. Anderson III, age 54, from Anderson, Ind., driving a 2006 Freightliner semi

Larry N. Dugat, age 59, from Dixon, Mo., driving a 2012 Peterbilt semi

Tommy R. Chandler, age 60, from Fort Wayne, driving a 2011 Mack semi

Floyd E. Atha, age 62, from Scottsburg, Ind., driving a 2007 International semi

Harry J. Suddon, age 67, from Brighton, Mich., driving 2012 Volvo semi

Kyle M. Cavaleri, age 43, from Panama City, Fla., driving a 2011 International semi

Douglas E. Bair, age 54, from Findlay, driving a 2010 Freightliner semi

David D. Higgins, age 56, from Defiance, driving a 1994 Chrysler minivan.

The following sustained injuries in the crashes: Pursley; Schleinkofer; a passenger, Linda A. Gessler, age 69, from Fort Wayne; Williams; Van Deilen; Dugat and Cavaleri.

The on scene cleanup of ethanol was completed by SWS Environmental Services from Middle Point and Marine Pollution Control from Detroit and assisted by Ohio EPA, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, Paulding and Defiance County EMAs, and Ohio Department of Transportation personnel.

US 24 between US 127 and Ohio 49 was closed from Tuesday morning until about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday during the cleanup. Work is expected to continue in the area for the next several days.


Last Updated on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 8:41 PM