A Cincinnati Police Sergeant is in critical condition after a head-on collision that closed a portion of Columbia Parkway for more than three hours.
Police say Sergeant Ronald J. Schaeper, 46, was driving off duty in a Chevy Malibu when the driver of a Chevy Tahoe, Raymond Weathers, 35, crossed the center line and hit him head-on.
Schaeper has broken arms, legs and ribs, and he also has brain swelling. Sgt. Ronald Schaeper remains in critical condition, however, his vital signs are improving. Tuesday's surgery to stop the bleeding in his legs was successful and his spleen did not need to be removed. Sgt. Schaeper will continue to be monitored by hospital trauma surgeons.
He was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.
Schaeper's wife, Lori, has released the following statement:
"I cannot begin to express my thanks to the community, police department, fire department and the hospital. Their support has been wonderful. Your thoughts and prayers mean so much to our family and to Ron during this time."
When Schaeper's car was hit, his car hit a 2011 Subaru Outback and a Ford Explorer.
Weathers has a broken leg and was not wearing his seatbelt. The accident also involved two other cars. The drivers of those cars have minor injuries from their airbags.
The driver of the Subaru, Denise Brockman, 42, and the driver of the Ford Explorer, John Cissell, 39, were both wearing their seatbelts and sustained minor injuries.
Charges against Weathers are pending. Police reports say he "did not maintain control of his vehicle."
According to Hamilton County court documents, Weathers has five previous court appearances, all connected to driving violations. In 2006 and 2007, he was in court four times on driving with a suspended license charges. In March of 2007, he was charged with speeding. In March of 2010, he was charged with driving without a license and improper lights.
Schaeper has served more than 20 years in the Cincinnati Police Department for District 1. Before his time with the department, he worked as a Newport police officer and as a corrections deputy for the Hamilton county Sheriff's office.
In 1996 he was promoted to police sergeant.
In addition to that title, Schaeper was a coach. He worked as an assistant coach for the Immaculate Heart of Mary School crusaders football team in Anderson Township while his son was enrolled there.
A football player himself back in the day, Schaeper was a 1983 graduate of McNicolas High where his son and daughter now go to school.
His high school yearbook shows he was also on the wrestling team; a man who was known for working hard under pressure according to his own records at the police department.
Every evaluation in his personnel file shows him meeting or exceeding standards. Documents also show his "bravery" was noted for "evacuating a burning building" and helping with surveillance leading to "the arrest of a large supplier of drugs" in the Laurel Homes community.
Mayor Mark Mallory releases the following statement on Sgt. Ronald Schaeper:
"My thoughts and prayers are with Sgt. Schaeper and his family as he deals with his injuries. This is a reminder to us all about what is most important in life. I ask you all to hug your friends and family, tell them you love them and say a prayer for Sgt. Schaeper and his family."
City Manager Milton Dohoney also released the following statement:
"Today, my heartfelt prayers go out to Sgt. Ronald Schaeper and his family. I ask everyone in our community also to take a moment to pray for his strength as he battles his injuries. He is a long-serving officer of the Cincinnati Police Department. It is my sincerest hope that the courageous spirit with which he assumes his police duties everyday will carry Sgt. Schaeper through this as well."
The traffic unit is continues to investigate and any witnesses to the crash are asked to contact the Cincinnati Police Department's Traffic Unit at 513-352-2514.