MEDINA COUNTY, Ohio - Troopers said alcohol appears to be a factor in a fiery crash in Medina County that killed one person and left two others injured.
The crash happened Thursday at 5:28 a.m. on State Route 18 between Beach Road and State Route 94 in Granger Township.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol said 20-year-old Gilbert Ralios drove his Ford Fusion over the center line, striking a Chrysler LSH head-on. Ralios' car burst into flames and two Good Samaritans stopped to help get him out of the car.
One of these good Samaritans was identified as Trevor Worrall who was on his way to work at the time. "In Montrose right before I77, I saw a vehicle with no headlights on swerving between the lanes," said Worrall. He also described seeing the vehicle go 20 and 80 mph. That's when Worrall told NewsChannel5, he called 9-1-1.
But he lost site of the Ford Fusion as it went over a hill on SR18. Moments later, once Worrall reached the hill, he described quickly spotting the vehicle in a head-on collision with the Chrysler.
"They were bowed-up a little bit and had spun off of each other," said Worrall.
Worrall and a few other men quickly responded when the Ford burst into flames, one person trying to undo Ralios' seatbelt while the other used a fire extinguisher on the vehicle's engine.
At one point Worrall told NewsChannel5 they had to back away because the flames became too strong, but once a second fire extinguisher was used, Worrall said he was able to get in, cut the seatbelt with his work utility knife and then men then pulled Ralios out of the vehicle.
"They were almost to the point where they couldn't even get them out, so this probably would have been a double fatality if not for the good Samaritans," said Sgt. Tim Dearmitt with the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Troopers said two people were in the Chrysler – 29-year-old Chad Nelson of Columbus (passenger) and 34-year-old Eric Kaskevic of Strongsville (driver).
Ralios and Nelson were flown to Akron General Hospital for treatment, where Nelson died a short time later. There's no word yet on Ralios' condition.
Kaskevic was taken by ground to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, where he was listed in fair condition.
The OSHP said seatbelts were used by all involved in the crash. Alcohol appears to be a factor, the patrol said, but did not offer specific information.
Sgt. Dearmitt said the men who helped save the driver's life are heroes.
"It's definitely, definitely upsetting that people lost lives. But what it really came down to was it didn't matter whose fault it was," said Worrall of his quick response, "I was more concerned with helping who I could."
Sgt. Dearmitt told NewsChannel5 late Thursday afternoon they are investigating the legal status of Ralios saying at the moment, he is believed to be from Mexico. They are also investigating whether the suspect vehicle was reported stolen.
State Route 18 was closed for several hours, but it has since reopened.