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Driver in I-71 crash that killed father-of-three still at-large

‘He was important to a lot of people.’
A fatal 2020 hit-skip crash on northbound Interstate 71 along the Jeremiah Morrow Bridge.
A fatal 2020 hit-skip crash on northbound Interstate 71 along the Jeremiah Morrow Bridge.(ODOT)
Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 5:29 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Tuesday marks a year since a Tri-State family lost 76-year-old James Clark in a hit-skip crash on Interstate 71.

Clark was a husband and a father of three. He was killed on the Jeremiah Morrow Bridge in Warren County on the way to work last December.

Video from the crash shows an SUV entering Clark’s lane on the bridge, causing his pickup truck to hit the concrete barrier. Clark then crossed all lanes of the bridge before hitting the concrete barrier on the other side and coming to a rest.

Clark was not wearing a seat belt and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the highway patrol.

And no one stopped to check on him, which haunts his son, Randy Clark, to this day.

“That’s rough,” he said. “I counted at least five cars that had to hit their brakes so they didn’t hit dad, and no one even called 911.”

Randy says it was a truck driver a ways back from the crash who finally called 911, but the driver was so far behind that he couldn’t give a detailed description of the SUV except to say it was light in color.

Randy says his family has been looking for answers on what led to the crash for a year.

“He was a father,” Randy said. “He was a husband of over 50 years. He was important to a lot of people. He was well known in the community.”

The Ohio State Highway Patrol has been handling the investigation. They have not been able to track down the SUV.

“An accident’s an accident,” Randy said. “Things happen, and if they had stopped and come forward and said, ‘Look., this is what happened,’ I’d be ok with that. But to just run and not stand up and at least take credit for what you did is just cowardice.”

Clark implores the SUV driver to turn him or herself in.

“You changed an amount of lives that you can’t imagine,” he said.

Anyone with any information about the crash is asked to contact OSP’s Lebanon post at 513-932-4444.

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