Ohio State Highway Patrol car

WAYNE COUNTY -- A 56-year-old Wayne County man died in a two-vehicle crash Monday at 5:21 p.m. on Ohio 585, north of Steiner Road, in Chippewa Township.

According to the Wayne County Post of the Ohio Highway State Patrol, the crash involved a red 2004 Chevrolet Silverado driven by John J. Berkey 76, of Creston and a white 1991 Dodge Grand Caravan driven by Richard Szafran 56, of Smithville.

Troopers said their initial investigation found Szafran was southbound on Ohio 585. Berkey was southbound on Ohio behind Szafran’s vehicle. Berkey failed to maintain an assured clear distance ahead and struck Szafran’s vehicle in the rear.

Both vehicles traveled across the centerline off the left side of the road, striking several trees, troopers said.

Szafran was pronounced deceased at the scene. His front right seat passenger, Connie S. McGee 53, of Orrville, was transported to Akron General Hospital by the Chippewa Fire Department.

Berkey was transported by Rittman Fire Department to Akron General Hospital.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol Reconstruction Unit, Wayne County Coroner’s Office, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, and the Ohio Department of Transportation assisted on scene.

Alcohol does not seem to be a factor in this crash, troopers said. Berkey was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash. The crash remains under investigation.

Support Our Journalism

Local news coverage is only sustainable with local support. Here at Ashland Source, our stories will always be free to read, but they aren’t free to produce. Consider supporting our coverage of Ashland County by becoming a member today.