LEBANON, Ohio - An accident on I-71 has left one family split up at several area hospitals and two horses in surgery.
Northbound I-71 was shut down for almost three hours Saturday after a pickup truck hauling a long horse trailer went off the road, hit a ditch and crashed into a tree. Five people, two horses and a dog were injured in the crash.
It happened around 12:30 p.m. near the 29 mile-marker in the Lebanon area, north of State Route 48.
Crews worked for hours as traffic on I-71 backed up for miles while they worked to save lives.
Police say the left, front tire on the truck blew out, sending the entire rig against the steep hillside of the highway's median.
The gooseneck trailer was upended, with the rear of the trailer resting on its end, and the rear doors blocked. Both horses were trapped inside. A veterinarian was called to the scene.
The Ohio State Patrol says the driver of the truck, Paul Schwab, 55, of Hamilton, and his passengers were taken to area hospitals, including Children's Hospital.
9 News was told one of the female passengers and a teenager were flown to hospitals, while the others -- including another female passenger and infant -- were taken by ambulance.
Police say the 14-year-old was flown to Children's Hospital where he is listed in critical condition and the woman was flown to University Hospital where she is listed in serious condition.
The other female passenger and the infant were taken to Arrow Springs Hospital for minor injuries.
Schwab was taken to Bethesda North Hospital. His condition has not been released.
The tow truck originally called in to extricate the truck and trailer did not prove adequate. A larger wrecker was then called to the scene. 9 News was told one of the horses was "freaking out" in the wrecked trailer while awaiting rescue.
The horses were administered tranquilizers and when the trailer was finally "jacked up," crews were able to extract the horses from the trailer. 9 News was told the horses appeared to have lacerations.
Veterinarians from the Lebanon Equine Clinic were there to help with the horses' rescue and to make sure they didn't go into shock.
"One of our vets that is on-call got here first and was able to sedate the horses initially, kind of assess them," said Dr. Derek McFadden, of the Lebanon Equine Clinic. "Both were somewhat pinched down the hill there, against the back gate."
"We had enough ropes and sedation on board that we were able to get them out the back of the trailer," McFadden said, "and then give them some medicine to stabilize them."
Jessica Snyder happened to be driving by the crash scene with an empty horse trailer, which she was able to use to help transport the injured horses from the scene .
"I would just only hope that if it was me on that hill, that the next empty trailer that came by would take my horses, too," Snyder said.
Once at the clinic, veterinarians told 9 News that while the horses are bumped and bruised, after a few surgeries they should recover.
No word yet on the names of the other accident victims or the condition of the dog.
The accident remains under investigation.
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