2 officers, 1 driver hurt in head-on southwest Ohio crash

JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio - Two police officers were injured in a head-on collision involving an Alberdeen police cruiser and another vehicle on U.S. 68 in Brown County late Friday morning.

The crash happened around 11:30 a.m. at the intersection of U.S. 68 and Gooselick Road just south of Georgetown, Ohio.

According to a news release, Officer Matthew Nickolas, 34, of Cincinnati was traveling northbound on U.S. 68 in a police cruiser with his passenger, Officer Paul Wheeler of West Union. The police cruiser was struck by a pickup truck operated by Donald Hauke, 70, Russellville, who was headed southbound on U.S. 68. Hauke was turning left onto Gooselick Road when he hit the police cruiser head-on at the intersection.

The police cruiser caught fire and both vehicles sustained substantial damage. Police say witnesses helped pull the officers from the vehicle.

Officer Nickolas was transported by ambulance to University Hospital where he is being treated for life-threatening injuries. Officer Wheeler and Hauke were taken to Southwest Medical Center for non life-threatening injuries.

A medical helicopter was called to the scene, but was not able to fly in the area of the crash because of high winds.

One of the witnesses who assisted the officers after the crash, Mike Polston, spoke to 9 News about the incident.

"We pried the doors open me and a few other people and dragged the police officers from the burning car. Our Heavenly Father was watching over us and we were just lending a helping hand," said Polston.

U.S. 68 was shut down for more than three hours while crews cleared the crash.

The incident remains under investigation.

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