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Police ID passenger killed in NB I-71/75 crash in Northern Kentucky

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 4:40 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 16, 2021 at 9:46 AM EDT
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WALTON, Ky. (WXIX) - One person is dead and a tow truck driver was hospitalized in a crash that shut down northbound Interstate 71/75 for more than seven hours overnight, according to the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.

A tow truck and a semi tractor-trailer were involved in the collision near Walton about 11:30 p.m. Thursday.

Trace Patrick of Dry Ridge was operating a 2020 Freightliner Flatbed tow truck when his truck struck the back of the tractor-trailer operated by Larry Hill of Dayton, Ohio, sheriff’s officials said in a news release.

A passenger in the tow truck, David Matthews Jr., also of Dry Ridge, was ejected and later pronounced dead at the scene, the release states.

Patrick was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

Hill did not report any injuries.

The Boone County Sheriff’s Office Accident Reconstruction Team is handling the investigation, which remains ongoing.

Motorists who were stuck on the highway for more than seven hours overnight were seen out of their cars, walking around.

Some called our newsroom out of frustration and concern, asking if we knew when the highway would reopen and why they were left to sit for hours.

“We’ve been out here since midnight,” said Danielle Scott, who was traveling with her family home to Toledo.

“Everybody is out just walking around. We are frustrated,” she said.

She said they had bottled water but no access to bathroom facilities, so they didn’t want to drink too much.

“We are waiting for the traffic to move so we can get going home,” she said.

We reached out to the Boone County Sheriff’s Office and asked an agency spokesman why the motorists weren’t routed off the highway while investigators reconstructed the crash scene and collected evidence.

The highway was shut down from about 11:30 p.m. Thursday until just after 7 a.m. Friday.

“It is always our goal to get traffic moving as quickly as possible on the interstate, however, in this case that simply wasn’t possible because evidence spanned more 900 feet across all lanes of travel and the fatal collision involved two (2) commercial motor vehicles,” Lt. Philip Ridgell said.

“The collision occurred north of the I-75/I-71 split. There was another route, the on-ramp to I-71 southbound, which was not obstructed. There is a small stretch of the interstate just north of the on-ramp where motorists could not safely be turned around or routed around the collision scene.”

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