MORROW COUNTY, OH (WCMH) — From photographs of the charred remains of two vehicles once engulfed in flames now sitting in a sea of firefighter’s foam, it is surprising not just 1 but both drivers survived the head-on collision that yielded a mangled mess, according to Ohio State Highway Patrol spokesperson Craig Cvetan.
“Both vehicles, you know traveling probably in excess of 60-70 miles an hour because that’s the speed limit in that area, you know that’s a very deadly crash and, you know, (they are) are very lucky to have survived,” he said.
A near-deadly crash that investigators say was caused by Michael Marchak, allegedly driving the wrong way in a stolen van when he collided head-on with state trooper Jason Phillips, who had been dispatched on reports of an impaired driver on 71 north near Mount Gilead in late June.
Cvetan says Marchak wasn’t drunk but tested positive for meth.
“You know we see that a lot. We see meth, cocaine, heroin. We see people under the influence of drugs, not just alcohol anymore,” he said.
Now Marchak faces the following charges:
- Two counts of aggravated vehicular assault, a second-degree felony
- One count of receiving stolen property, a fourth-degree felony
- Operating a vehicle impaired, a first-degree misdemeanor
- Driving under suspension, a first-degree misdemeanor
Phillips is now resting at home and according to Cvetan has a long road of recovery ahead of him –
“It’s hard to say how he’s going to respond to what happened but right now we’re just happy that he survived the crash and that he’s progressing and you know that he’s back home with his family,” he said.
Marchak is due back in court Sept. 13.
Friends of Phillips are organizing a fundraiser set for Sept. 28 at the VFW in South Bloomfield from noon until 7 p.m.