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The Ohio State Highway Patrol continues to investigate a deadly accident over the weekend near a construction zone that claimed the life of a Newton Falls couple.
Paving repair work on Interstate 76 is complete in the eastbound lanes near the area where Kenneth and Delores Stoner of Newton Falls were killed over the weekend. The accident is a reminder to motorists to keep alert for small construction projects that may pop up that slow down traffic.
The Stoners were killed when the car they were riding in was rear ended by an SUV driven by Lynn Berger, 35, of Cranberry Township.
“You know, we choose times when there is not a lot of traffic, so we started Friday evening at 7 p.m. And we had the zone down by Sunday evening again. The next two weekends when we do these paving repair work, the westbound lanes will be the same thing,” said ODOT public information officer Justin Chesnic.
Chesnic said while the accident happened as cars were slowing down for construction, drivers were given enough warning.
“In this particular case, everything was set per the standards we have. Notification of road construction ahead about a mile back from the zone. We had another notification about a half mile away and about three-tenths of a mile away, we had another set of signs, then at two-tenths of a mile away, we had another set of signs letting motorists know before that arrow board,” Chesnic said.
Sgt. Bret Henderson of the Canfield post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said the construction zone is not being looked at as part of their investigation, but the driver, Berger of Cranberry Township, will more than likely face charges.
“The bottom line is you have to pay attention and you have to maintain safe assured distance for following too close and things like that. That is more of a factor in this crash than whether the signs are posted properly,” Henderson said.
In fact, the patrol said more than 65,000 crashes in Ohio in 2012 were caused by drivers following too closely.