MOUNT VERNON — A driver from Howard was involved in two crashes Thursday within two hours and 20 minutes of each other and less than a half mile apart. Trooper Mat Whims, who investigated both crashes, said the first accident was at 10:45 a.m. on U.S. 36 just east of DePolo Road. Brian Jones, 46, was westbound in a 2007 Ford Econoline Van with five special needs passengers.
Jones told Trooper Whims he reached for his cell phone, the next thing he knew, the van was off the right side of the road, hit a culvert, knocked a mailbox off into the weeds and traveled 500 feet along the edge of a field before hitting a tree.
The passengers were all wearing seat belts, Whims said. They were taken to Knox Community Hospital by the Eastern Knox County Joint Fire District and College Township, where they were treated and released.
Jones was not injured.
Knox County Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Gary Rohler, traveling westbound, said he saw a utility pole guy wire swinging free. Looking for the cause, he missed the van partially hidden by high grass and a fence. He turned around, drove back down the road and spotted the vehicle, calling in the mishap to the dispatchers.
Jones is charged with failure to control. U.S. 36 was closed for a time while paramedics treated the passengers and loaded them into squads.
At 1:05 p.m., Jones returned to the scene of the initial accident to check on his van. While stopped waiting for traffic, his SUV was hit in the right rear corner, shoving it off the left side of the road into the ditch. The other vehicle was driven by Jerry Stull, 61, Howard, whose SUV had heavy damage to the left front end.
Jones was taken to Knox Community Hospital by the EKCJFD with a possible back and neck injury. He was not wearing his seatbelt according to Whims. He charged Stull with assured clear distance ahead.
MOUNT VERNON — A Mount Vernon man escaped injury but his car was destroyed in a one car crash Thursday at 9:25 a.m. Jeffrey Niday, 20, was wearing his seatbelt when his ran his 1988 Mercedes-Benz off Ohio 229 at Liberty Road west of Mount Vernon.
Ohio State Highway Patrol Mat Whim said Niday was westbound when his car left the left side of the road into the ditch, hit a utility pole and rolled over hitting two trees. He was charged with failure to control.