OSHP investigates fatal crash in Chippewa Township

CHIPPEWA TWP.  A Smithville man died and two others were taken to area hospitals Monday following  a two-vehicle crash in Chippewa Township.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating the crash that occurred at 5:21 p.m. on State Route 585 north of Steiner Road.

The crash involved a red 2004 Chevrolet Silverado driven by John J. Berkey 76, of Creston, and a white 1991 Dodge Grand Caravan driven by Richard Szafran 56, of Smithville, according to a news release from the OSHP. Initial investigation revealed Szafran was southbound on State Route 585. Berkey was traveling southbound on
State Route 585 behind Szafran’s vehicle. Berkey failed to maintain an assured clear distance ahead and struck Szafran’s vehicle in the rear. Both vehicles traveled across the center line off the left side of the roadway striking several trees.

Szafran was pronounced deceased at the scene. Szafran’s front right seat passenger, Connie S. McGee, 53, of Orrville, Ohio was transported to Akron General Hospital by the Chippewa Fire Department.

Berkey was transported by Rittman Fire Department to Akron General Hospital.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol Reconstruction Unit, Wayne County Coroner’s Office, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, and the Ohio Department of Transportation assisted on scene.

Alcohol does not seem to be a factor in this crash. Berkey was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash, the news release states.

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