Mother trapped under semi, killed in Huntington Township

Young son flown to Cleveland for treatment

By Jason Hawk -

A six-year-old boy survived but his mother died Thursday when their car was crushed under a semi in Huntington Township.

Jessica Harper, 30, of Mansfield, ran a stop sign in her 2009 Dodge Journey at New London Eastern Road and became wedged under a southbound tractor trailer on Rt. 58, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The crash happened at 9:04 p.m. When Wellington firefighters arrived about eight minutes later, Harper was gone.

She had not been wearing a seat belt, investigators said. Her son, Justin, was secured in a booster seat.

The semi dragged the Dodge about 75 yards. Assistant fire chief Bill Brown said the front end was caved in on Harper.

Dunlap’s Towing lifted the back of the trailer about eight to 10 inches off the ground while firefighters used another truck to pull the car out.

Once free, Justin was flown to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland with incapacitating injuries. Brown said the boy was conscious but very confused.

“I’d like to say he’s going to be OK, I think,” he said. “It’s hard to believe he wasn’t killed. It’s just one of those things you shake your head.”

The Highway Patrol confirmed early Friday that Justin was recovering.

The semi driver, Thomas Taylor, 44, of Texas, was not hurt. He refused treatment at the scene.

Investigators are unsure whether speed, alcohol, or drugs were involved in the crash.

This is the third deadly crash in recent weeks for South Lorain County Ambulance District paramedics and Wellington firefighters. Brown said it’s been hard on his crew.

A head-on crash June 14 took the life of 49-year-old Christine Weeks of Wellington on Rt. 58 near Webster Road.

Kiara Stowers, 18, of Columbus, died June 17 at routes 511 and 18 in Brighton Township.

Summer is the most dangerous time of the year on American roads, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Weekends and evenings are especially deadly.

Be careful — Independence Day and New Year’s Day are the two worst days of the year for fatal crashes, and this year the Fourth of July travel period is expected to generate a record number of trips.

A study of federal crash data from 1998 to 2014 found an average of 106 traffic fatalities occur every day throughout the year. The number spiked to 116 in July and August.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

Young son flown to Cleveland for treatment

By Jason Hawk