Many questions remain about a five-vehicle crash Monday night in Far East Columbus that claimed the life of a Reynoldsburg man, and now city police are investigating two other fatal crashes.
Preston Blythe, 22, from Reynoldsburg, has been identified by family and friends as the man who was killed in the crash around 9.30pm at the intersection of East Broad Street and Shadymere Lane, opposite Brice North Road.
Blythe’s loved ones erected a small white cross with the words ‘RIP – We will miss you forever and ever’ written on it, and placed flowers in the grass outside the Broadmere Villas complex at the intersection.
This is where the Lincoln Town Car that Blythe was driving finally came to a stop after being hit from behind and sent flying through the air, flipping over multiple times. Blythe was pronounced dead at the scene.
Columbus police did not officially identify Blythe, but instead listed the name of a relative who owned the town car in the crash report uploaded Thursday with the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
The crash report says police still don’t know the identities of the drivers of a Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger, which police say started the crash as they ran east on East Broad at about 70 mph in a 50 mph zone at the time of the crash.
Previous cover:Police are searching for 2 drivers who fled the 5-car crash on East Broad Street that killed 1, injured 2
According to the accident report, the Charger was traveling in the right lane when it overturned an eastbound 2011 Kia Sportage SUV belonging to Stacey Taylor, 58, of the Blacklick area in the far east of the city. The Sportage overturned in a grassy ditch on the right or south side of the East Broad in front of a square anchored at the opposite ends by Mount Carmel Urgent Care and Hot Burrito.
Taylor, who was trapped inside the SUV, had to be mechanically extracted and taken to Mount Carmel East Hospital less than a mile away with serious but not life-threatening injuries, said reported the police.
Two responsible drivers fled, police say, and one of the cars was stolen
The Charger also went into the ditch. The report says the driver – and a second adult whom police had not previously reported to be in the vehicle – took a toddler and a baby also inside the crashed vehicle and fled places on foot. The Charger is a leased vehicle owned by Boston-based PV Holding Corp., parent company of Avis rental cars, according to the accident report. The police are working with the company to identify the tenant.
The Challenger slammed into the back of the Lincoln Blythe was driving, then crashed into a utility pole and utility box at the southwest corner of the intersection of East Broad and Shadymere. The driver of the Challenger also fled on foot.
Columbus police records show the Challenger was reported stolen some time after 6:30 p.m. Monday from a residence on South 22nd Street on the city’s south side.
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The Challenger’s impact sent the Lincoln flying and flipping several times, hitting a 2007 Ford Mustang driven by Ruben Reed, 35, of Columbus’s Driving Park neighborhood, which was stopped on Shadymere for the traffic light. Reed was also transported to Mount Carmel East with minor injuries, according to the report.
Family members and friends of Blythe posted on social media asking anyone with information about the crash to come forward and speak to police.
Two other fatal crashes in Columbus under investigation
Columbus police are also investigating two other fatal crashes that occurred within the span of 12 hours.
At approximately 2:15 p.m. Thursday, a 2013 Kia Rio traveling east on Morse Road near North Stygler Road on the northeast side of town struck a 2021 Hyundai Tuscon. The Kia did at least one rollover, ejecting the driver from the vehicle.
The driver, who has not yet been identified by Columbus police pending notification from the family, died a short time later at Mount Carmel East Hospital.
According to an accident report, the driver of the Tuscon was not injured.
Less than 12 hours later, at around 12:45 p.m. on Friday, a death was reported by police following a single-vehicle crash on Barnett Road near the intersection with East Mound Street in the east side of the city .
According to Columbus police, a 2022 Honda CRV traveling south on Barnett Road crossed the center line and left the left side of the road, hitting a tree. The driver, who was the sole occupant of the vehicle, was transported to Mount Carmel East in critical condition but died at 1:12 a.m. Friday. The driver has not yet been identified by police.
Sixteen people have died in motor vehicle crashes in Columbus in 2022, police say.
Anyone with information about any of the crashes is asked to call Columbus Police at 614-645-4545.