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VICTIM OF FATAL CRASH AND FIRE WITH 18-WHEELER ON NEW YEARS DAY IN CLEVELAND IDENTIFIED

Just before 7 am Cleveland Police took a call from a motorist who was eastbound on SH 105 approaching the 105 Bypass west of Cleveland. It was reported a silver Toyota Corolla was traveling eastbound driving erratically with its flashers on. The reporter stated the driver would speed up to 70 then slow down to 30. Just 10 minutes later another call came in reporting a Toyota Corolla had crossed the centerline of Loop 105 over I-69 and was hit by an 18-wheeler. Units responded to the scene and found the Toyota fully involved in fire with the driver trapped. In addition, a silver Nissan was about 200-feet from the scene with an object through the windshield. Over three football fields further west of the burning vehicle was an 18-wheeler with heavy right trailer damage. The tanker was carrying the very dangerous polypropylene. There was no leak, however. Sgt Edwards with Cleveland Police Department investigated the crash. Due to the HAZMAT Loop 105 was closed completely around Cleveland and will be most likely through Saturday night as a load of chemicals is transferred to another tanker. Edwards said the Toyota crossed all the lanes and was struck by the right rear of the tanker trailer, THe damage sheared the axle and blew the right-side tires. Even with the extensive damage, Edward commended the driver for how she was able to maintain control of the truck for almost 1000 feet without rolling over. The driver of the Toyota was burned beyond recognition and has not yet been identified. There was no Identification to be found and the VIN numbers and license plates were destroyed by the fire. A Nissan that was traveling west behind the 18-wheeler had the windshield wiper motor of the Toyota go through the windshield. Smith Towing and J+J Wreckers removed the cars from the scene. The tanker has to have the chemical pumped which could last through the night. The Fire Department is monitoring the situation and an area of 1/2 miles was evacuated while the transfer was taking place.

 

1/5/21- UPDATE FROM CLEVELAND POLICE DEPARTMENT–

In the early morning hours of January 1, 2022, the Cleveland Police Department, along with fire and ems, responded to a fatal vehicle crash on the SH 105 Bypass over the US Hwy 59 intersection. The crash involved 2 passenger cars and a hazardous material tanker truck. After the crash one of the passenger cars, a silver 2014 Toyota Corolla caught on fire. The driver of that vehicle, who has been identified as 20-year-old Gerardo Benjamin Portillo Vasquez of the Dayton area, was killed in the collision. The occupants of the 18 wheeler and the other passenger car either were not injured or received only minor injuries that did not require transport to a hospital. The incident prompted an all-day shutdown of the SH 105 Bypass however, due to the extremely volatile and dangerous nature of the chemical load the 18 wheeler was hauling, to allow hazmat crews to transfer the dangerous load to another tanker prior to attempting to remove the severely damaged trailer. Mr. Vasquez’s next of kin has been notified and the Cleveland Police Department extends its heartfelt condolences to the family for the loss of their loved one in this tragic incident. The crash was investigated by Sgt. David Edwards and Officer Rodriguez of the Cleveland Police Department.

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