December 19, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
29°F
 

SUV tumbles into ravine on I-71

Rescuers carry the Brunswick victim of an accident Wednesday evening out of a ravine on Interstate 71 northbound in Medina Township. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY DAN POMPILI)

A Brunswick woman is in serious condition after her minivan went off Interstate 71 on Wednesday and tumbled into a ravine.

Traffic stood still for more than an hour on I-71 northbound just south of state Route 3 in Medina Township.

At about 5:10 p.m., Tracie J. Layne, 42, of Brunswick, swerved to avoid road debris while traveling north on I-71. She veered across the left lane of traffic into the median, where safety cables prevented her from striking oncoming traffic in the southbound lane, according to the Ohio Highway Patrol.

But the cables also funneled her 2001 Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle about 500 feet down the median strip where it then struck the concrete bridge abutment and tumbled more than 200 feet into the ravine below.

Emergency responders to work to freea Brunswick woman from her vehicle after she swerved off road and slid down the median strip along Interstate 71 into the ravine below. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY DAN POMPILI)

The SUV came to rest on top of a concrete drain pipe over the bank of the West Branch of the Rocky River.

Trooper Steven Robison said the posts holding the safety cables are breakaway posts and only are designed to prevent vehicles from crossing into oncoming traffic, not to stop or slow them down.

Medina Township and Granger Township fire and rescue teams worked for about an hour to cut Layne loose from her vehicle and out of the ravine.

Layne was taken by emergency helicopter to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland with a head laceration and other injuries. Emergency personnel at the scene said she was awake and talking when they put her into the helicopter at about 6:25 p.m.

The hospital emergency department listed her in stable condition as of 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Nick Blois, of Strongsville, said he and four other people went into the ravine to check on Layne before emergency responders arrived.

“She had that head wound, so some people were trying to stop the bleeding and, you know, be reassuring to her,” he said.

Blois said that when the patrol arrived, a trooper moved rocks underneath the Durango to prevent it from sliding farther down the steep ravine.

Robison said Layne’s husband had been notified and her brother was on the scene.

Layne is the mother of a son and three stepchildren.

Besides Granger and Medina township rescuers and the patrol, Medina Township and Montville Township police responded.

Bear’s Towing worked until 8:15 p.m. to pull the SUV from the ravine.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.