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Man killed at Howland intersection

Driver ejected in three-vehicle crash

HOWLAND — A Huntsburg man was killed and three other people were injured in a three-vehicle crash Saturday afternoon at the intersection of Howland Wilson Road and state Route 82.

The crash occurred just after 1:30 p.m. when a Volkswagen Beetle heading west on state Route 82 ran the red light and struck a Tesla that was heading north on Howland Wilson Road, according to the Warren post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The impact ejected the driver of the Volkswagen, who the patrol identified as Thomas Poole, 65, of Huntsburg, which is in Geauga County.

Poole was not wearing a seat belt, the patrol said, and he was pronounced dead at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital.

The impact forced the Tesla left of center and it struck a Chevrolet Traverse that was heading south on Howland Wilson Road, the patrol said. The Tesla driver, Kelly Barnes, 39, of Warren, and the Traverse driver, Michael Werblan, 73, and his passenger, Cheryl Werblan, 74, both of Warren, were taken to Trumbull Regional Medical Center with nonlife-threatening injuries, a report from the patrol states.

Traffic on state Route 82 was backed up for several miles following the crash, and police blocked the freeway heading west between the crash site and the Eastwood Mall exit for several hours, rerouting traffic onto northbound and southbound Howland Wilson Road, which snarled traffic on those roads as well. Route 82 reopened around 5:30 p.m.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is planning to upgrade the intersection where the crash occurred beginning in 2025 and is still in the preliminary stages that includes surveys, environmental studies and other engineering and design tasks. ODOT was accepting comments from the public on the project until Friday.

The nearly $1 million project proposes restricting access to the Route 82 and Howland Wilson Road intersection by eliminating left-turn movements from eastbound and westbound Route 82. Additionally, the project proposes removing the existing traffic signal and cul-de-sac northbound and southbound Howland Wilson Road while still maintaining access for vehicles turning right onto Howland-Wilson Road from either direction.

At least one lane of traffic in each direction will be maintained at all times. Construction is expected to begin in May 2025 and last approximately seven months.

Some residents at a recent Howland trustees meeting expressed concern about increased traffic on Howland Springs Road because of the construction and the altered intersection after the work is done.

ODOT classifies the project as a safety upgrade, according to its website.

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