Bernard Bloniarz, Julie Roth, Emma Smith Killed in 46-Vehicle Accident on Ohio Turnpike in Sandusky County
Sandusky County, OH — December 23, 2022, Bernard Bloniarz, Julie Roth, Emma Smith, and another person died in a 46-vehicle pileup on the Ohio Turnpike.
Authorities say the incident happened Friday afternoon along the eastbound Turnpike between state routes 4 and 53 in Sandusky County. Investigators are still trying to work out how the large chain-reaction pileup happened, but for now say bad weather conditions (heavy snow, low temperatures, high winds) may have caused 46 or more vehicles to collide with one another in the roadway.
Bloniarz (59), Roth (37), and Smith (19), all believed to be in separate vehicles, were fatally injured in the crash. A fourth unidentified person also died; it's not clear if they too were in a separate vehicle. The number and nature of any other injuries has not been reported yet.
The investigation continues. No further information is currently available.
Every year during the winter months we see stories across the country about large multi-vehicle accidents in severe weather. Authorities, especially those in northern states with particularly bad snowstorms, often plead with locals to stay indoors unless driving is an absolute necessity, and even then to proceed with extreme caution. Sometimes that doesn't happen, though, and one crash may quickly turn into several in whiteout conditions. It's an awful shame to see, and my heart goes out to the people who lose loved ones to incidents like this.
Obviously the main priority here is to tend to the victims and clear the roads, but investigating exactly what happened and why is a very close second. There's a tendency to simply shrug and say "weather" as a blanket explanation, but injured victims and grieving families deserve better answers than that. If there's more the story they and everyone else should know that; will police efforts alone be enough to shed light on what happened?