MASON, OH (FOX19) - The Ohio State Highway Patrol is currently investigating a crash involving four vehicles, including an over-turned tractor trailer, that closed northbound I-71 just before the Mason-Montgomery Road late exit for a couple hours on Monday.
The patrol says its preliminary investigation revealed that Michael Fortine, 27, of Maineville, was operating a 1998 Mercury Mystique northbound on Interstate 71, and failed to maintain assured clear distance ahead, striking a 2004 Toyota Matrix from behind that was operated by Clayton Kuhnell, 66, of Cincinnati.
Kuhnell was pushed from the right lane into the left lane, where he struck a 2006 Freightliner tractor trailer operated by David Taylor, 54, of London, Ky. Taylor then traveled to the right after impact with Kuhnell, striking a 2008 Dodge Sprinter van operated by James Laycock, 49, of Hamilton. Laycock then traveled off the right side of the roadway, striking an embankment. The tractor-trailer overturned onto its left side, blocking all four lanes of Interstate 71 northbound.
Fortine, Laycock, and Taylor were all taken to Bethesda North Hospital by Loveland-Symmes Emergency Medical Services for minor injuries.
Kuhnell, the Toyota driver, and his passenger, Pamela Kuhnell, 62, were taken to Jewish Hospital by Loveland Symmes Emergency Medical Services for minor injuries.
The patrol says the crash was not alcohol or drug related. The crash remains under investigation.
All lanes opened around 7:20 p.m., about two hours after the crash that stopped traffic for three miles on a busy interstate during rush hour. Traffic was backed up all the way to the Pfeiffer Road exit for over an hour.
Around 5:40, traffic began to flow again when the left two lanes were reopened. At 6:20, the semi truck was uprighted and towed away.