Deputies injured in I-74 crash in good condition

Posted at 11:44 PM, Dec 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-01 23:44:58-05

WHITEWATER TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Two deputies are expected to recover after one deputy was struck by a vehicle and another was hit with debris on Interstate 74 near Interstate 275 Tuesday.

Hamilton County sheriff’s deputies Kevin Statzer and Larry Henderson were responding to a crash on the ramp from westbound I-74 to southbound I-275 in Whitewater Township before a vehicle struck one of them and caused debris to hit the other.

The initial crash happened at 10:32 a.m. and involved a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt on the ramp. Gregory Bonomini lost control on the wet roadway, and his Cobalt struck a guardrail, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Michael Robison said.

The vehicle was disabled along the left shoulder of the ramp when Statzer and Henderson arrived.

Robison said the deputies parked their marked cruisers along the left side of the ramp and activated their cruisers' overhead lights. Statzer is a 27-year veteran of the department; Henderson is a 24-year veteran.

Robison said Nia Brightwell, 19, was driving a 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt on the ramp from westbound I-74 to southbound I-275 when she “failed to observe traffic slowing.”

He said Brightwell took evasive action by braking and steering to the left, which caused her vehicle to rotate and strike Henderson's parked cruiser. The impact then redirected her car, causing her to strike Statzer with the front of her vehicle.

Debris from Brightwell's vehicle struck Henderson, Robison said.

Photo from the scene

Statzer was standing along the shoulder in front of Henderson's cruiser when he was hit, Robison said.

"They're seasoned veterans who are good people who do a good job like 99 percent of us, but the fact of the matter is, everyone us can be under these circumstances in a split second," sheriff's Capt. Rick Neville said.

Statzer was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center and is listed in fair condition. His injuries are considered not life-threatening, Robison said. Brightwell was taken to Mercy West Hospital, treated and released. Henderson was treated at the scene.

Bonomini, the driver from the initial crash, was not injured.

"We want to let people know, again: You see an emergency vehicle on the side of the road, especially when it's raining, please, please take precaution, slow down and be careful, because this happens routinely and way t0o often," Robison said.

Alcohol and/or abuse of drugs were not factors in either crash, Robison said.