A minivan going the wrong way on a southwestern Ohio highway struck another minivan head-on early Sunday, killing four people and critically injuring two others, authorities said.
The first minivan was carrying a family leaving a Christmas party, and the vehicle it struck was carrying a family going to see grandparents for the holidays, The Associated Press reported.
The accident happened about 2:30 a.m. on Interstate 75 near milepost 35 in Warren County, near the town of Franklin.
In a news release, Ohio State Patrol Lt. Anne Ralston said a 1997 Dodge minivan was traveling south in the northbound lanes on I-75 when it struck a 2000 Chrysler minivan.
The driver of the Dodge minivan, Joshua Nkansah, 40, of Fairfield, Ohio, and his 7-year-old son, David Nkansah, died at the scene, Ralston said. A 4-year-old boy in the van was transported to a hospital in Middletown and then flown to Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati with what troopers said were life-threatening injuries.
The driver of the Chrysler minivan, Michele Barhorst, 31, of Madisonville, Tenn., also died at the scene. Her husband, Scott Barhorst, 37, was flown to a hospital in Cincinnati where he died from his injuries, troopers said. A 9-year-old in the van was flown to Dayton Children’s Hospital with life-threatening injuries. Two other children, ages 8 and 11, were being treated at a Middletown hospital for serious injuries, and an 18-year-old was being treated there for minor injuries, the patrol said.
Alcohol was a suspected factor in the crash, Ralston said.
Ohio State Patrol Sgt. Stan Jordan told the AP that investigators smelled liquor in the minivan that was going the wrong way and found a bottle of alcohol in the vehicle.
The accident shut down the highway for several hours Sunday morning, WDTN-TV reported.