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A 50-year-old truck driver from North Carolina is being credited with helping pull a Ravenna man and his family from a car Thursday moments after it was involved in a fatal crash on the Ohio Turnpike in Hudson.
Alfred Floyd, 61, of Youngstown, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Ohio Highway Patrol's Hiram Post. He was ejected from the car.
Three other people, including a Ravenna man, his mother and her daughter, were taken to local hospitals after the two-car crash in which both cars flipped and landed on their roofs.
"Upon arrival at the crash scene, troopers saw a 2003 Mitsubishi Outlander and a 2001 Ford Taurus overturned in the north side of the roadway near the S.R. 8 interchange," according to the highway patrol.
"The Mitsubishi apparently drove off the right side of the road to avoid being hit by the Taurus," according to the patrol. "The vehicles collided in the center lane and struck the concrete barrier in the center of the highway, overturning and coming to rest on their roofs on the inside berm.
The driver of the Mitsubishi Outlander, who according to the highway patrol was not wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Summit County Coroner's Office. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of his death.
The driver of the Ford Taurus, Douglas Coward, 24, of Ravenna, remains in Akron City Hospital for a back injury. Coward was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash, police said.
Coward's mom, 50-year-old Elizabeth Coward, was taken to Akron City Hospital with "non-life threatening injuries," according to police. Her 15-year old daughter, Linsey K. Guinaugh, was taken to Akron Children's Hospital with "non-life threatening injuries." Both were wearing their seat belts according to police.
The crash remains under investigation.
Scott Durant, who drives for Bell Trucking in Shoemakersville, Pa., was driving westbound when he saw the eastbound cars rolling and smoke coming from the cars.
"They had just come to a rest when I stopped," Durant said.
He parked his rig along the berm and jumped the concrete barricade, he said.
"I heard a girl screaming in the back seat of the second car (the Ford Taurus)," Durant said. "She was screaming, 'Help, help I can't get out!' So I went over and grabbed a hold of the back window and it broke, but she couldn't get out. So I pried the back door. I helped her out and then went to the lady in the front."
Durant said the female passenger was "hanging upside down."
"She could not get out because her seat belt was fastened," he said. "By that time another guy had come and he had a knife and cut the seat belt and helped her out."
The driver of the Ford Taurus was in the passenger's side of the car, Durant said.
"He looked like he had been beat up pretty good. I couldn't tell if he was in the back with the girl or where he started," Durant said. "Then we went and checked the other car to make sure no one else was in it -- by that time the sheriff's had got there."
The Valley, Macedonia, Boston Heights and Richfield fire departments responded to the scene, along with Ohio Turnpike Infrastructure Commission maintenance workers and representatives of the Summit County Prosecutor's Office, according to the patrol.
The right two lanes of traffic on the Turnpike were closed for three hours while troopers completed their on-scene investigation.
"All I could think about was that the car was going to blow up and those people were in it," Durant said. "I don't know if cars blow up for real, but they do on TV, and I just pictured those three getting burned."
Durant said he worked as fast as he could to help free the victims, in case the car caught on fire.
"I had glass shards in my hand from where I fell down. I didn't even realize it until I got to Toledo and took a shower and got my bloody clothes off," he said. "If that car would have blown up -- with that girl screaming -- I never could have lived with myself. Let's hope, if I'm ever in that situation, someone will take the time and effort to help me."
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