By Rick Palsgrove
A severe accident recently closed down part of a busy road in Groveport.
According to the Groveport Police, on Feb. 7 around 10:30 a.m., an injury accident involving a flatbed semi-truck and two cars occurred at the intersection of State Route 317 and Groveport Road. The accident resulted in the temporary closing of Groveport Road between State Route 317 and Greenpointe Drive.
“Upon arrival, we found the road blocked by a load of steel pipes lost from a flatbed semi-truck and one of the cars on fire,” said Groveport Police Lt. Josh Short. “
Short said a passerby pulled the female driver from the burning vehicle and she was later transported to the hospital in stable condition. The Madison Township Fire Department confirmed that one driver had minor injuries and was treated on the scene while another driver was transported to a local hospital in stable condition.
“The person who pulled the woman from the car made a selfless and brave decision to pull the victim from her car while it was on fire,” said Madison Township Fire Chief Derek Robinson. “His actions made a difference and put her in a position not to sustain any more injuries or potentially death. At this time, we do not have that individual’s name.”
“The Madison Township Fire Department was very quick to the scene to put out the car fire and treat injured drivers,” Short said, adding that Groveport Road was closed from State Route 317 to Greenpointe Drive for three hours while crews from Long’s Towing helped get the road cleared.
The accident remains under investigation.
Fire department takes action
Robinson said one of the Madison Township Fire Department crews (Engine 181) was at a nearby grocery store and saw the police response and smoke at the intersection.
“They responded over to the scene to investigate even before they were officially dispatched,” said Robinson. “Their being in the area, as opposed to the fire station located off Hamilton Road, allowed personnel to quickly mitigate the situation by extinguishing the auto fire and providing medical care for the injured driver. They did not encounter any challenges outside of the normal ones that our first responders face on a motor vehicle crash scene.”
A busy intersection
Groveport Police Chief Casey Adams said the area near the intersection of State Route 317 and Groveport Road has been the scene of some other recent accidents, including a couple resulting in fatalities. One was when a driver from Hamilton Township lost control of their vehicle on State Route 317 south of Groveport Road another was when a Columbus man was killed during a failure to yield accident at the intersection of State Route 317 and Groveport Road.
According to the Groveport Police, in 2022 there were 22 non-injury auto accidents and seven injury auto accidents in the State Route 317 at Groveport Road corridor. This includes the intersections of Groveport Road and State Route 317, Groveport Road at Greenpointe Drive, and the traffic light in front of the Groveport Kroger Plaza.
Adams said the most common citations for accidents at or near the intersection of State Route 317 and Groveport Road are assured clear distance (drivers not allowing enough space between them and the car in front of them) and failure to yield on left hand turns.
“Drivers being in a hurry and driver inattention are factors,” said Adams. “Also, people are not gauging the speed of oncoming traffic well on left hand turns. Vehicles in traffic are moving faster than drivers think they are.”
Adams noted that recently, on the over night shift in two separate incidents, Groveport Police officers cited two drivers on State Route 317 for traveling at a high speed.
“One was going 120 mph and the other was going 110 mph, that’s twice the speed limit for the road,” said Adams. “When stopped, the drivers said they had just gotten off work and were in a hurry to get home.”
Adams said high traffic volume in the area is also a factor, especially at shift change for the nearby warehouses between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m.
According to Groveport City Engineer Steve Farst, “Based on data from MORPC, taken back in 2018, and then factoring in a reasonable traffic growth factor, it appears about 27,000 vehicles per day enter/leave the intersection from all directions.”
Adams said drivers can safely get through the intersection by slowing down, allowing for the proper distance between vehicles (a standard is two car lengths between you and the car in front of you), and paying attention.