New Philadelphia, Ohio - Authorities say drug use may have played a role in an accident that temporarily shut down Route 250 Thursday and triggered a chain reaction of crashes.   

Sgt. William Bower of the New Philadelphia Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol says the first accident occurred just before 2 p.m. on state Route 250, just east of New Towne Mall, when a westbound Saturn being driven by a 31-year-old Gnadenhutten man crossed over the median and began traveling the wrong direction in the eastbound lane and collided head-on with a Dodge pickup truck carrying a 45-year-old male driver and a 60-year-old female passenger.

The occupants of the truck were both were transported from the scene to area hospitals for treatment for non-life-threatening injuries. 

The driver of the Saturn was reported to have been treated at the scene with an opioid overdose reversal drug before being transported to Aultman Hospital. A dog that was traveling in the Saturn also sustained injuries and was transported by the Tuscarawas County Dog Warden to a local vet. There were no other occupants, and no drugs were found in the vehicle.

Once the investigation is completed, Sgt. Bower says the case will be reviewed by the Tuscarawas County Prosecutor’s Office for possible charges against the driver. 

“Due to the other individuals being injured and the driver possibly being under the influence, that will change the severity of the charges. Nothing has been charged because of that,” he says. 

Sgt. Bowers notes that traffic became backed up on Route 250 in both directions while responders worked to clear the scene, resulting in several minor crashes with no serious injuries and the apprehension of a drunk driver.

“We had a two-car on the opposite side and then we had another one on the same side that ended up involving a drunk driver that was arrested and brought back here. Then we handled another one because ODOT was detouring off here on 259. It ended up five crashes and a total of nine or 10 vehicles, all occurring probably within minutes of each other,” he says.

Stacey Carmany, Tusco TV

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