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Just another Saturday night

Posted on 04/12/2010 by Barry Irwin

They say you shouldn't take your work home with you, but last night I did just that and I'm glad for it. My friend and I had been out in Pennsylvania visiting a mutual friend of ours. It was after 10pm so we decided to drive home back to Ohio. My friend was driving his car and I was in the front passenger seat for the trip. We were driving on Interstate 76 West right outside of Kent when ahead of us we saw a bunch of taillights from other cars that looked like they were moving erratically. My friend started to slow down. As we continued down the highway we noticed a bunch of car parts strewn about, and just then saw a black car that had crashed previously and was now sitting with no lights blocking the entire left lane of the two lane west-bound highway. We immediately got in the right lane and were able to get by the black car. Just then, another car hit the black car at full speed and then it ended up smashing into the left side of our car. My friend pulled us to the side of the road, and we immediately got out of our car because cars were still coming into the crash scene at full speed. 

Being, among many other things, an aircraft firefighter for the Akron-Canton Airport, I knew I had to do something to help in the chaos of this situation. I called 911 and started running down the highway to get a mile marker number to tell the dispatcher. I was on the phone to the dispatcher when the first police car arrived on scene. I decided to check on the status of the other crash victims to see if they were alright. The first group of victims was a group of women who looked like they were going to a party. I asked if they were alright but they were all crying and screaming; it was just more shock than anything as none of them appeared to be injured too badly and they were moving around. I headed over to the black car that had been in the left lane and saw four people standing and one guy lying on the ground motionless. I asked the guy on the ground what was hurt.  He told me his arm and his tongue. I asked if he could move his foot and he did. He started shaking so I told his friends to put their coats on him.  Just then, the first ambulance arrived on scene. I ran over to it, told them I was a firefighter, and began explaining the condition of the victims to the paramedics. They drove over to help the man on the ground just as multiple ambulances and police cars arrived on scene. 

Overall it was a crazy night; a rubbernecker even caused a crash in the east bound lanes parallel to us.  Luckily my friend and I were able to drive away from the crash.  His brand new car is pretty well damaged but that's what insurance is for, and as my mom always reminds me; if money can fix it, it's not a problem. My thanks goes out to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, and the fire departments of Kent, Ravenna, Brimfield, Rootstown, and Randolph Township for a job well done. I guess sometimes it doesn't hurt to take your work home with you.

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