Investigation on-going in triple fatal crash in Columbiana Count - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Investigation on-going in triple fatal crash in Columbiana County

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COLUMBIANA COUNTY, Ohio - Three people are dead, including an 11-year-old girl, after a head-on crash in Columbiana County.

Thirty-nine-year-old James Nign, his wife, 27-year-old Meghann Nign, and 11-year-old passenger Addisyn Benzel, all died when the SUV they were riding in was hit head-on by a Jeep.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol says the Nigns, who had six children in the vehicle, were headed to a family skating party.

The Jeep Cherokee driven by Rachel Lindesmith, and carrying her 9-month old son, traveled left-of-center on State Route 518 near mile post 4 in Wayne Township.

The Jeep crashed head-on into a Equinox driven by James Nign of East Liverpool, a vehicle carrying 9 people.

Nign and his wife Meghann, both Calcutta volunteer firefighters were killed, along with 11-year-old passenger, Addisyn Benzel.

Six other children, ages 9-months to 11-years-old survived.

Sergeant Craig Monte, with the Ohio State Highway Patrol's Lisbon Post tells 21 News, "The Highway Patrol is doing an in-depth investigation. We've employed all the resources at our disposal, including our photographic services unit out of Columbus, our district investigators are coming up and assisting with interviews. and we have a professional crash-reconstruction team that's working this as well."

It's unclear what caused the driver of the Jeep to cross the center line, but four families have been devastated, along with the Calcutta Volunteer Fire Department -- now mourning the loss of two of their own.

In one Facebook post, on the fire department's web site, someone wrote,  "Prayers to 5 little ones who lost their parents."

"It's without a doubt the most difficult aspect of our job, any state trooper will tell you that. ... And that's why we're out there everyday trying to prevent these tragedies from occurring," Sergeant Monte said.

There were six children in the Equinox, three of the children, including the one that died were seated in the rear cargo area of the SUV, where seatbelts were not available.

There is no law in Ohio prohibiting kids from sitting in the cargo area, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The State Patrol says what they know for sure is that, just like in this case not wearing a seatbelt can kill you.

"More times than not, it's going to go a long way in saving you," Sergeant Monte said.

Accident reconstruction experts from the State Highway Patrol spent four hours at the scene of the fatal crash on Sunday, and will be back in Columbiana County to work with the lead investigator on Tuesday. It's unclear whether they will need to return to the accident scene.

Charges are expected in the crash, but the investigation is not over, and it's unclear what those charges might be.

Thirty-one-year-old Rachel Lindesmith, who was driving the car that went left of center, was wearing a seatbelt, she's being treated at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Youngstown. Her son was secured in a rear facing child safety seat, and was treated for non-life threatening injuries at Salem Regional Medical Center.

The surviving occupants in the Chevrolet Equinox are:

  • McKenna M. Nign, age 11, seated in the rear cargo area, she was taken to Akron Children's Hospital.
  • McKayla E. Howard, age 11, seated in the rear cargo area, she was taken to Aultman Hospital in Canton.
  • Savanah D. Nign, age 6, seated on the lap of Meghann Nign. She was taken to UPMC Children's Hospital by medical helicopter.
  • Chase D. Nign, age 4, a backseat passenger was in a child safety seat. Chase was transported to UPMC Children's Hospital by medical helicopter.
  • Brody B. Nign, age 1, back seat passenger, and seated in a child safety seat. Brody was transported to UPMC Children's Hospital by life flight.
  • Payslee R. Nign, age 9-months, back seat passenger and seated in a child safety seat. Payslee was transported to UPMC Children's Hospital by life flight.
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