Gideon Itenberg Injured in Three-Vehicle Crash on I-80 in Liberty Twp, OH
Liberty, OH -- April 18, 2022, 61-year-old Gideon Itenberg was injured in a three-vehicle crash involving a tractor-trailer on Interstate 80 in Liberty Township.
Authorities say the incident happened around 10:30 p.m. on eastbound I-80 near mile marker 231. Preliminary investigation suggests Itenberg was driving a minivan east on the roadway in the left lane when he lost control for unknown reasons. The van veered into the right lane where it struck an SUV driven by 75-year-old Conrad Kalb. The SUV ran off the road and hit a guardrail while Itenberg's van came to rest in the right lane. Soon afterward it was struck by a southbound tractor-trailer driven by 53-year-old Marcelo Guaita.
Itenberg received life-threatening injuries in the accident and was transported to an area hospital. No other injuries were reported.
The investigation continues. No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Gideon Itenberg Accident on I-80 in Liberty
While investigators are looking further into the crash, I hope they're able to figure out the exact timing of events. Determining how much time and space the truck driver had to react to the stopped van will be important to figuring out if the wreck could have been in any way avoided or its damage reduced.
I'm not automatically pointing the finger at the trucker here. From reports it seems as though the van was stopped in the roadway, and it's possible there was little to nothing the trucker could have done under the circumstances. However, reports aren't clear on some important details. How long was it there before the truck approached? Was the victim able to activate its hazard lights after stopping? Is that area well-lit at night, or was visibility hindered? Was the truck driver's full attention on the road? If not, why not? Could the collision have been affected by any other factors, like road conditions or other traffic?
People may wonder if it's really even possible to answer some of those questions, but there are often more sources of evidence than one might realize. For instance, dashcam footage from the 18-wheeler would be invaluable, but not every truck is equipped with one and not every company is immediately willing to offer it to investigators. If not, eyewitness testimony can at least help create a rough sketch of how everything played out. Other times investigators need to examine the Electronic Control Module (ECM) data from the vehicles involved. This "black box" records important data like when brakes were applied and how fast each vehicle was going. A skilled investigator is able to interpret these readings to determine important details of the crash. It's also important to view both drivers' phone and data usage records from just before the accident. Several of these sources of data likely wouldn't be available without a court order, but they should be analyzed to be sure the whole story is learned.
Some will interpret all this as me searching for a way to blame an innocent truck driver. I'm only saying what I always do: The only way to know for sure how everything went down is to obtain all the facts with careful investigation. Unbiased evidence is the way to ensure that the whole story is known. If any further steps should be taken, knowing that would depend largely on what is learned.