CINCINNATI - Four people, including an off-duty Cincinnati police officer, were injured in a four-vehicle crash on Columbia Parkway Tuesday morning.
Cincinnati police say Raymond Weathers, 35, lost control of his vehicle, crossed the center line, and hit Cincinnati Police Sergeant Ronald Shaeper's car head on around 6:40 a.m. on Columbia Parkway near Delta Avenue. That collision caused Sergeant Shaeper's vehicle to hit two other cars, one driven by Denise Brockman,42, and the other driven by John Cissell, age 39.
All four people involved were transported to University Hospital including Sergeant Schaeper of District 1. Schaeper was off duty at the time. Crews had to extricate Sergeant Schaeper who was trapped inside a vehicle.
University Hospital doctors say Sergeant Schaeper is listed in critical condition, but he is improving. They say he suffered a brain injury, and broke his arms and legs.
"What we are working with right now are fractures to his legs and arms, he also has injured his spleen, we have not yet had to remove it we may," said Dr. Peter Muskat, University Hospital Trauma Medical Director. "He's listed as critically ill at this time."
The other three people transported to the hospital do not have life-threatening injuries.
Sergeant Schaeper has 23 years of experience in law enforcement. Cincinnati police promoted him to the rank of Police Sergeant back in 1996.
Tuesday morning, dozens of people, including Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig, Mayor Mark Mallory, and Cincinnati Councilman Cecil Thomas visited Sergeant Schaeper at University Hosptial to offer their support.
"I was on the force for 27 years and there were a number of tragedies that affected family members of police officers, and just the mere fact that other support mechanisms meaning the entire Cincinnati Community coming to show their support means a lot to the immediate family," said Councilman Thomas.
Cincinnati City Manager Milton Dahoney released this statement:
"Today, my heartfelt prayers go out to Sgt. Ronald Schaeper and his family. I ask everyone in our community also to take a moment to pray for his strength as he battles his injuries. He is a long-serving officer of the Cincinnati Police Department. It is my sincerest hope that the courageous spirit with which he assumes his police duties everyday will carry Sgt. Schaeper through this as well."
Doctors now say it's going to be up to 24 to 48 hours before they know the severity of Sgt. Schaeper's brain injury.
"What our hope is in the next 24 hours is to stabilize his blood pressure, to continue to provide well oxygenated blood to his brain, to support the non-injured brain, it's too early to tell how it's been injured," Dr. Muskat said.
Weathers, the man police say originally lost control in the accident, has a lengthy criminal record, according to court records.
Columbia Parkway was shut down in both directions between William Howard Taft Road and Delta Avenue Tuesday morning for at least five hours.
The cause remains under investigation.
Stay with 9 News and WCPO.com for updates as information becomes available.