Driver who caused I-71 closure in critical condition, suspected of OVI

(Photo: Derek LaBeaud, WKYC-TV)
↓ Advertisement ↓

​CLEVELAND -- All lanes of I-71 North are now open after being closed for nearly four hours at Fulton Road Thursday morning.

The closure happened around 5:15 a.m. after a wrong-way driver collided with a semi-truck.

According to Cleveland police, 26-year-old Steven Howard was driving his Ford Focus the wrong way when he struck the left front corner of the truck. Howard's car then spun through all three lanes of traffic before it hit a Hyundai Elantra being driven by 58-year-old Gary Schlairet.

Howard was taken to MetroHealth Center, where he remains in critical condition. While tests are pending, authorities believe he may have been OVI.

↓ Advertisement ↓

Gary Schlairet was also hurt in the crash and is in serious condition. The driver of the semi was uninjured.

See photos:

We carried live streaming coverage on Facebook for hours: