Trish Bennett, Editor
CIRCLEVILLE – A man critically injured in a five-car crash early Monday morning has been identified as Matthew L. Paulini, 45, of Columbus.
Paulini has been employed for several years as an officer of the State of Ohio Adult Parole Authority operating from the Pickaway County Courthouse.
He was listed in critical but stable condition at Grant Medical Center in Columbus late Monday afternoon, according to Deputy Tracy Andrews, Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office.
Andrews said Paulini was traveling southbound on U.S. Route 23 in a maroon Honda Civic about 6:56 a.m. when he went off the roadway and crossed through the median into oncoming traffic in the northbound lanes.
Paulini’s vehicle struck one northbound vehicle, Andrews said, then spun off of it and was struck by another, then another. In all, three northbound vehicles were directly involved in the crash, and a fourth crashed separately after striking debris in the roadway.
Andrews said it is currently unknown what caused Paulini to cross the median, and the crash remains under investigation.
Paulini suffered the most serious injuries in the crash, Andrews said. His vehicle also suffered the heaviest damage, losing axles, wheels and the motor in the multiple impacts.
Martin A. Hart, 43, of Chillicothe, also remains hospitalized at Grant Medical Center in Columbus.
Drivers of the other vehicles, as well as one passenger, were transported to Columbus-area hospitals, where they were treated for minor injuries and released, Andrews said.
They include James R. McIlhargey, 37, of Circleville; Amy McIlhargey, 36, of Circleville; and Sherry Thatcher, 56, of Circleville.
The driver who struck debris from the other crashes was not injured, he said.
Andrews said MedFlight was called but was unable to respond at the time of the crash. The victims were transported to Columbus by Harrison Township and Scioto Township EMS.
Traffic was blocked in both directions on U.S. Route 23 for several hours, then gradually reopened to traffic one lane at a time. Investigators were actively on the scene about seven hours until completely clearing about 2 p.m.
Editor’s Note: This article was amended at 9:31 a.m. Feb. 2 to correct the current status of driver Martin A. Hart.
This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal