Ashtabula: 2 dead, 5 others injured in crash ID'ed

3:23 PM, Jun 18, 2012   |    comments
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ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP -- A crash in Ashtabula County killed two and sent five others to the hospital.

The crash happened around 12:30 p.m. Sunday on State Route 84, just west of Woodman Avenue.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, a Chevy HHR was headed east on State Route 84 and a Chevy pickup was headed west on the same road.

The HHR was trying to pass another car in a marked, no passing zone. While in the wrong lane, the driver of the HHR spotted the pickup and quickly swerved to get back into the proper lane.

The HHR driver, now identified as Samantha Starcher, 22, of Conneaut, then lost control and went back across the center line, striking the pickup head-on.

The driver of the pick-up has been identified as Benita Fusco, 56, of Ashtabula. 

Fusco died at the scene. She was not wearing a seatbelt, troopers noted. Her truck landed in the driveway of Jim Rannigan II, who rushed to her aid.

"The woman in the truck there was in pretty bad shape so I did what I could to try to comfort and console her until the professionals got here," Rannigan told WKYC.

"There was a little girl in a car seat in the pickup," Rannigan said. "The little child was yelling just hysterically, so I tried to console the child."

The girl, Gianna Nosse, 4, is the granddaughter of Fusco. A Highway Patrol spokesman says Gianna was well enough to go home from the hospital Monday afternoon.

Two other children and two adults were taken to the hospital. The other children, ages 2 and 4, who were in the backseat of the HHR, were flown to MetroHealth Medical Center.

The other passengers were taken to Ashtabula County Medical Center and later taken to MetroHealth Medical Center. The Highway Patrol says they were expected to recover.

HHR passengers:

Front passenger: Corey Kidd, 23, of Ashtabula, was taken by the Plymouth Twp. Fire Department. He was using his seatbelt, which minimized his injuries, troopers said.

Right Rear passenger: Collin Brooks, 4, of Ashtabula, was taken by Community Care Ambulance. He was in a child safety seat which minimized his injuries.

Rear Middle passenger: Chloe Headley, 2, of Ashtabula, was also taken by Community Care Ambulance.  She was also in a child safety seat which minimized her injuries.

Left Rear passenger: Abby Donathan, 46, of Geneva, was not using her safety belt and was ejected. She was taken by the Ashtabula Township Fire Department and died while enroute to the hospital.

Chevy pickup passenger:

Middle Seat: Gianna Nosse, 4, of Ashtabula, was taken by The Ashtabula Township Fire Department. She was in a child booster seat which minimized her injuries.

The crash remains under investigation, troopers said.


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