Four people dead, including two from Stark County, in I-71 wrong-way crash


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Two residents of Stark County were among the four individuals killed in an early Sunday morning wrong-way collision on Interstate 71 in Morrow County. The Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Mount Gilead post is actively investigating the incident, which occurred at approximately 2:40 a.m. on Sunday near mile marker 152 in Franklin Township along I-71.

The victims identified by the Highway Patrol include Cristal Galloso Olvera, 31, and Ivonne Olvera, 50, both of Columbus; Larry A. Dotson, 32, of Canton; and Marlee Middleton, 32, of Massillon.

The fatal incident unfolded when officials say Dotson, operating a 2020 Hyundai Tucson in the wrong direction on I-71 South, collided head-on with a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee operated by Salvador Alfaro Castaneda, 26, of Columbus, as detailed by the Highway Patrol.

The impact caused both vehicles to overturn and ignite in flames. Galloso Olvera and Olvera were passengers in Castaneda’s vehicle, Middleton accompanied Dotson, according to authorities.

Castaneda sustained serious injuries and was transported to OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital for treatment. He was reported to have been wearing a seatbelt during the crash.

Dotson and Middleton were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash, the Highway Patrol disclosed. They both were pronounced dead at the scene.

The investigation into the crash, including the potential involvement of drugs or alcohol, remains ongoing under the supervision of the Highway Patrol.