GAHANNA, Ohio (WCMH) – A dangerous Saturday night on the roads has first responders reminding Ohioans to drive safely.
A Gahanna police officer is in the hospital Sunday after he was hit responding to stranded motorists on Interstate 270 Saturday night. In Cleveland, a firefighter was struck and killed while responding to a crash along Interstate 90, also on Saturday.
Officials don’t want any more incidents like these two to happen and are offering some reminders for drivers as one of the busiest travel weeks of the year starts.
While there were no severe problems on the roads Sunday afternoon, it was a much different story the night before, when Lt. Ethan Moffitt with Gahanna Police said the division responded to a series of calls a little after 9 p.m.
“Disabled vehicles off the roadway, abandoned cars that had slid off the roadway,” he said.
Officers went out to help drivers and while one officer was out of his cruiser, another driver lost control and hit him. That driver was cited for failure to maintain reasonable control.
“These roadways, they’re dangerous scenes to work in the best of conditions,” Moffitt said. “Add in inclement weather, snow, ice, it just adds to the hazards, but it also shows these men and women are committed to helping the public.”
Moffitt and a spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Transportation said both incidents should serve as reminders to drivers to take it slower in bad weather and to move over and slow down when they see flashing lights. The said doing those things is especially important as one of the busiest travel weeks of the year begins.
“While they’re out there keeping the road safe for you, do us a favor and keep the road safe for them,” said ODOT spokesperson Brooke Ebersol.
“With the holiday season increased traffic volume on our roadways, leave earlier, watch your speed,” Moffitt said.
He said he is hopeful the Gahanna officer will make a full recovery and that his thoughts go out to those in Cleveland.
“Frankly, I think we’re all a little conflicted,” Moffitt said. “We’re obviously very relieved our officer is going to be OK, and at the same time, our hearts go out to our brothers and sisters who unfortunately lost one of their own last night.”