CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A serious accident caused by a wrong-way driver and sent multiple people to the hospital early Monday morning shut down Interstate 74 for about six hours.
Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil says four vehicles were involved in the crash that happened around 2:30 a.m.
The crash shut down lanes of I-74 between I-275 and Highway 128 until the road reopened around 8:30 a.m.
Officials say the wrong-way driver is Lafayette Dante Smith, 46, of Cincinnati.
Smith was driving east in the westbound lanes, sheriff’s officials say, when he hit a vehicle driven by Eli Velasquez-Zacarias, 24, of Cincinnati, who had two adult passengers and two children in the car with him.
Sheriff Neil says Smith’s vehicle spun out of control following the initial crash, coming to a stop in the left two lanes of I-74 where he was hit by a box-truck driven by Isaac Slaughter, 34, also of Cincinnati.
During this time, Smith’s vehicle was also hit by another vehicle driven by Charlee Combs, 31, of West Harrison, Indiana.
Smith was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center where he is being treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Officials say he was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
Velasquez-Zacarias was also taken to UCMC by AirCare and is being treated for serious, life-threatening injuries.
His two adult passengers, Leivy Velasquez, 26, and Onelsa Roblero, 23, both of Cincinnati, were taken to UCMC where they are being treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Roblero was also not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, officials say.
Two children in the vehicles, ages 3 and 5, were taken to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The 3-year-old was taken to the hospital for observation and the 5-year-old is suffering from life-threatening injuries.
Neither child was wearing a seat belt.
The truck driver, Slaughter, was taken to Mercy Health-West Hospital for non-life threatening injuries and the driver of the last vehicle, Combs, was not injured.
Officials are not sure how Smith’s vehicle got on the highway going the wrong direction, but say 911 calls indicated it was traveling the wrong way entering Ohio from Indiana.
Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash.