Erwin Kuhns Jr., 51, of Middlefield, was pronounced dead at the scene.
At about 9 a.m., three vehicles were slowed to a crawl through a westbound construction zone in Riley Township, according to troopers with the Milan Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
A semitrailer barreled into the rear-end of another semitrailer that had slowed in that line of traffic, causing a four-vehicle chain reaction collision, troopers said.
It was then that a Ford F-150 crashed into the back of the pile-up. Kuhns was a passenger in that truck and sustained fatal injuries from the impact, troopers said.
The Ford’s driver and other passenger — Paul Snoff, 73, of Warren, and David Kuhns, 18, of Middlefield, respectively — were taken to Fremont Memorial Hospital for non-incapacitating injuries, troopers said.
Walter Mozzochi, 46, of Homeworth, was driving one of the other cars involved in the crash. He was also taken to Fremont Memorial Hospital for non- life-threatening injuries, troopers said. All other drivers and passengers escaped with minor or no injuries.
Both of the semitrailer’s fuel tanks were punctured in the collision, allowing 100 to 150 gallons of diesel fuel to spill onto the highway, troopers said.
Although the spill was contained before it flowed into nearby drainage ditches, traffic became backed up for almost six hours while rescue crews cleared the scene, troopers said.
The turnpike was shut down completely from about 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. so crews could reset concrete barriers. During that stretch of time, traffic was diverted onto Ohio 4, troopers said.
Troopers were assisted by Sandusky County firefighters, the Ohio EPA and Ohio Turnpike maintenance.