MILTON TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKBN) – The investigation continues, but the Ohio State Highway Patrol says it’s likely no charges will be filed in a crash on eastbound Interstate 76 over Lake Milton on Thursday. The freeway was closed for about four hours following a three-vehicle pileup that resulted in the death of one driver as well as three horses and a dog.
The victim was identified as William Tankard, 31, of Aiken, SC. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The State Patrol says his pickup truck pulling a horse trailer initiated the chain-reaction crash.
The other vehicles involved were a passenger vehicle driven by Karen Gates, 66, of Cleveland and a tractor-trailer driven by Nicorf Girard, 43, of Montreal, Canada.
According to the patrol, the pickup truck was traveling east on I-76 behind the passenger car at about 3:45 p.m. when the car began to change lanes to pass the other vehicles. While making the lane change, the pick-up struck the passenger car, rolled on its side, struck the bridge, continued east and struck the back of the tractor-trailer.
In 2014, there have been 10 fatal crashes in Mahoning County, killing 11, according to the OSHP. The 11 crashes can be divided into 5 rural crashes with 6 killed and 5 urban crashes with 5 killed.
“He went to swerve around them, hit the trailer, the trailer flipped. When the trailer flipped on the side, it came loose and he rammed into a passing truck, into the back end of it,” witness Jerome Wyckoff said.
Officers said the horses that were killed and those that survived made the scene even more challenging.
“It is definitely not common out here,” Lt. Nakia Hendryx with the Canfield Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said. “We were fortunate to have first responders respond promptly and also some of the motorists stopped to help corral the horses. We had a local farmer come out and help us extricate them.”
Ten horses were inside the trailer and the surviving seven are expected to recover. A local veterinarian is treating the injured horses. The deceased horses were disposed of at a local farm, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
“As you can imagine, on impact the horses scrambled around. They have metal shoes on and that can cause more cuts to themselves and the other horses in the trailer, along with the debris,” Dr. Steve Miletta said
The horses that were killed were disposed of at a local farm.
The vet said the horses are thoroughbreds and part of a polo team. One of them won’t return to the field because of a tendon injury from Thursday’s crash.
“They will be able to recoup. They are pretty resilient and remarkable animals,” Miletta said.
A dog that was in the cab of the pickup truck was also killed.