A 19-year-old Columbus man died when the car in which he was a passenger caught fire Saturday on Interstate 71 and he was unable to get out, according to the Mansfield post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
People at the scene tried to rescue the man, according to one witness who contacted the News Journal.
The incident occurred on I-71 in southern Richland County between the Ohio 97 and Ohio 95 exits.
How the crash happened
At approximately 4:20 p.m., a 2001 Ford Mustang was northbound on I-71 when it caught fire. The vehicle pulled to the shoulder, where it struck the guard rail and became fully engulfed. The vehicle was occupied by Kyshawn Ramsey, 20, and Gnim Talle, 19, both from Columbus, according to the patrol’s news release.
Talle was unable to exit the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. Ramsey was not injured, according to the patrol.
‘A quicker response may have saved this person’s life’
A witness to the fiery crash, Jennifer Paez, said in an email to the News Journal that a group of at least 15 bystanders tried to rescue Talle, using a fire extinguisher and bottles of water.
“One man even used his van to ram the vehicle, trying to move it off of the wall to gain access to the person in car begging for his life while on fire,” Paez wrote. “My 15-year-old son ran in to try and help push the burning car, but I had to pull him back to my car as everyone else also ran because it was ready to explode.”
Despite the heavy patrol presence on the interstate because of the holiday weekend, many minutes passed before troopers arrived at the scene, Paez said.
“A quicker response may have saved this person’s life,” she said. “I called to make a complaint to highway patrol and a sergeant was supposed to call me back, but never did.”
Lt. Ivy Amy, commander of the Mansfield post of the Ohio Highway Patrol, could not immediately be reached for comment Sunday morning.
Paez said she left the scene at 4:45 p.m. as she had small children in the car and was unable to do anything further. “The fire department was still about two miles out heading southbound on I-71 with one trooper following,” she said.
Crash remains under investigation
Troy Township Fire and EMS along with the Richland County Coroner’s Office responded to the scene. I-71 northbound lanes were partially closed approximately two hours while the scene was being investigated, according to the patrol.
It is unknown if alcohol and drug usage are a factor in the incident. The crash remains under investigation, according to the patrol. Source: Google News and Lou Whitmire