July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

Five injured in accident on Route 3

Maria Kacik | The Gazette

MEDINA TWP. — While a mother screamed for help, witnesses to a Wednesday afternoon accident worked to free her and her two children trapped inside their overturned minivan.

The Ohio Highway Patrol reported a green minivan driven by Natasha Pearson, 25, of 266 Jackson St., Medina, went left of center at about 1:25 p.m. while southbound on Route 3. She reportedly hit the rear of a northbound commercial tractor-trailer driven by Jack Harris of Norwalk. Her van then spun around and hit a northbound red Camaro driven by Linda Atanaskovic of Westlake. The impact pushed the Camaro into a ditch and the van overturned in the middle of the road.

Those in the minivan — Pearson; her father, Marcus Jones of Medina; and her sons, Landon Fort, 1, and Daitravehon Fort, 3 — were trapped inside. Atanaskovic, who was alone in her vehicle, also was trapped.

Emergency personnel work on Jack Harris, left, whose tractor-trailer reportedly was hit by a minivan at state Route 3 and Pierce Road in Medina Township. After his truck was hit, Harris worked to rescue the family that was trapped in the overturned minivanvan. (Maria Kacik | Gazette)

Harris said he jumped out of his semi immediately to help those trapped.

Dena Mitchell of Parma said she and her boyfriend, Nicholas Massey of Cleveland, were driving south on Route 3 when they came across the accident shortly after it happened.

“The woman was hanging out of the top of her car, saying, ‘Please help me. Please help me. There’s kids in here. I can’t feel my legs,’ ” Mitchell said.

She said Massey got the woman out of the minivan, and she, Harris and Mandy Duman of Medina, who also stopped to help, worked to free the children.

“As soon as I heard there were children in the car, my whole purpose was to get them out of there,” said Mitchell, whose shirt was speckled with blood from one of the victims.

Once the children were out, Mitchell said she and Duman calmed them until rescue crews arrived. One of the boys “was screaming so hard. I told him his mommy was OK and that he was being a brave little man,” Mitchell said.

Once rescue crews arrived, they used the Jaws of Life to remove Atanaskovic from her car. Jones climbed out of the minivan by himself, OHP Trooper Nick Clemens said.

He said everyone was conscious at the accident scene. Atanaskovic, Pearson, Jones and the Fort boys were taken to Medina General Hospital, he said. Harris was treated at the scene.

A hospital spokeswoman said Pearson and Jones were treated Wednesday and released. She said Atanaskovic was treated and transferred, but didn’t know where. The status of the boys was not available.

Clemens said Pearson was cited for driving left of center.

Contact Maria Kacik at (330) 721-4049 or mkacik@ohio.net.