COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio State Highway Patrol continues to investigate a wrong-way crash that injured a trooper overnight.
Around 2:40 Thursday morning, trooper Jason Phillips was dispatched on the report of an impaired driver on Interstate 71 in Morrow County.
Phillips was traveling northbound when he was struck head-on by the driver of that wrong-way vehicle; both cars caught on fire.
State troopers are calling 27-year-old Kojo Tsiboe a hero after he saved one of their own, rescuing him from the burning cruiser.
“I was praying… God save this officer. God save this officer,” said Tsiboe.
The day started around 1:30 in the morning for Tsiboe. He was headed to work when he saw someone driving a radically on the interstate in Morrow County.
“I saw this driver of a caravan heading towards us and it looked like a one-way driver coming at a faster speed,” he says.
He said he swerved out of the way and within seconds a loud crash. What happened next will forever be a picture in his mind.
“When they hit there was fire and smoke everywhere.”
Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper Jason Phillips was in a head-on collision with the reported erratic driver Michael Marchak Jr.
“The guy in the caravan was quickly able to get out. You could see the officer in and airbags all deployed but his door was locked. You couldn’t get him out.”
Tsiboe says he and others who pulled over to help grabbed tools out of their trucks.
“We were both trying to break the window so we could get him out,” he said.
Tsiboe says Phillips was unconscious but did have a pulse. Emergency crews arrived on the scene shortly after.
Tsiboe was injured in the process of saving of the trooper. Officials say ammunition went off in the trooper’s vehicle because of the heat from the fire and fragments struck Tsiboe in his left side.
Tsiboe was flown by helicopter to OSU Wexner Hospital with the trooper.
Tsiboe is now at home recovering, and says he and his wife have one prayer for Phillips.
“We want him to be 100 percent fully recovered, but at least let him live.”
The trooper is recovering after surgery in the hospital. His condition is critical and stable.