ERIE COUNTY, Ohio – A snowplow driver has been fired after his plow threw snow and slush onto the opposite side of the Ohio Turnpike near Sandusky, damaging 55 vehicles, according to a statement from the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission.
The driver was placed on administrative leave after the Jan. 23 incident in Erie County. He had a pre-disciplinary hearing February 4, and was served a termination letter on Tuesday, the statement says.
Ferzan Ahmed, the executive director of the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission, said in the termination letter that the driver was being fired for “grossly negligent” behavior.
“Your employment is being terminated for an egregious chargeable accident on January 23, 2022, while engaging in grossly negligent behavior as to endanger life, property, public safety, or otherwise cause the Commission to be liable for damage,” Ahmed wrote in the letter. “Further, you failed to responsibly perform duties that are within the proper scope of your position as a Maintenance Worker Class II Roadway employee.”
The driver had been employed by the commission since December 2015, a spokesman said previously.
The driver was westbound near milepost 117 and the State Route 250 interchange when the incident occurred. His plow tossed snow, ice and slush over the median and onto traffic traveling in the opposite direction.
In a video posted by a Reddit user, the snowplow driver appeared to moving at the same speed as other vehicles on the road.
The slush caused several cracked windshields and forced a car into a ditch. Altogether 55 cars were damaged, and 18 people suffered injuries that were not life-threatening, according to the commission.
As of Tuesday, 51 drivers involved in the incident have filed property damage claims with the turnpike commission, according to the statement. The commission is still asking vehicle owners involved in the incident to file claims online or by calling the turnpike’s customer service center at 440-971-2222.
Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer also reached out to the State Highway Patrol to ask whether the driver could face any traffic charges from the incident.
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