FREDERICKTOWN — A high school senior died in a head-on crash on Old Mansfield Road on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Caleb Hite, 18, Fredericktown, was pronounced dead by Knox County Coroner Jennifer Ogle at the scene on Old Mansfield Road, just north of the Knox Lake Road intersection.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol said Hite was northbound in his 1997 VW Jetta passing a car on a hillcrest. His car collided head-on with a Dodge Dakota pickup driven by Benjamin Vance, 27, no address given. Vance was flown from the scene by MedFlight to The Ohio State University Medical Center. He is listed in stable condition today.
Both vehicles caught fire after the crash. The patrol said the car being passed, driven by Chazz Smathers, and his passenger, Cameron Peugh, both 19 and local men, went to the rescue.
“They took lifesaving action in pulling the occupants from their vehicles,” according to patrol Lt. Chad McGinty.
With Vance were his two small children, ages 4 years old and 9 months old. Both were in child restraint seats and were not injured. The children were released to their mother’s care at the scene of the crash.
All the occupants were restrained, according to the patrol. The Fredericktown Fire Department extinguished the fire but there was significant damage to the vehicles, the patrol said.
Hite was a senior studying auto technology at the Knox County Career Center.
“I can’t tell you how we’ll miss him around here,” said KCCC Superintendent Bernie Pachmeyer. “He was just a great kid, very friendly and a very nice person.”
The crash remains under investigation.