NORTH JACKSON, Ohio (WKBN) – A beloved New Castle sports announcer has died after a fiery crash involving five vehicles, including three semi trucks, in North Jackson.
The chain-reaction crash happened on I-76 westbound at mile post 59 — near the Route 45 overpass — around 10:45 a.m. Thursday.
Ohio State Highway Patrol identified the victim as 53-year-old Mark Schaas. He was killed at the scene after his vehicle was forced into a semi truck.
Schaas was a sports broadcaster for WKST Radio and an announcer for games around Lawrence County. For the last three or four years, he did the play-by-play for New Castle High School basketball games and occasionally, football.
Stunned to find out the news that @schaasy has died in a car wreck today. He has been a friend and radio colleague for many years.
— Bob Greenburg (@BobGreenburg) June 29, 2017
The Red Hurricane family is saddened and extends its deepest sympathy to the family of Mark Schaas. You will be missed.
— New Castle Hoops (@NCTogether) June 29, 2017
His passenger, William Lawrence, was trapped in the vehicle until crews were able to pull him out. He was flown to St. Elizabeth Hospital with serious injuries.
Trooper Jerad Sutton said construction in the area caused traffic to back up. Sutton said a semi truck ran into the back of another semi truck, causing the chain-reaction crash.
Highway Patrol identified the driver that started the crash as Robert Brock, of Saratoga Springs, Utah. He struck the semi truck driven by Kevin Roberts, of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Roberts’ truck was pushed into Schaas’ vehicle, which was then pushed into a semi driven by Steve Cole, of Apple Creek, Ohio.
A Ford van driven by Guy Garner of Paterson, New Jersey, was in the left lane and was struck by the cab which separated from Roberts’ truck.
One of the cabs then caught on fire but was extinguished by the Jackson Fire Department.
Garner was not injured, but Brock and Roberts were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
Cole had minor injuries, according to Highway Patrol, and was also taken to the hospital.
The road reopened just before 5 p.m. and traffic is now flowing in the area.
The crash remains under investigation, and no charges have been filed.