Fatal Aftermath

By: Todd Baucher
By: Todd Baucher

While the Ohio Highway Patrol continues to investigate Tuesday's three-car fatal accident on Ohio Route 7, one of the victims remains in critical condition. Thirty-eight-year-old Vernita Dunn, a passenger in one of the three vehicles, is in critical condition at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown.

One Newport resident in particular was touched by Tuesday's tragic accident. Gus lost his stepfather, Bob Ross, who died when two other cars struck his van head-on.

"My wife's grandmother, cousin, and cousin's baby got killed up here in the bad waters about 10 years ago. It's tragic; there needs to be something done, definitely," says Gus.

People who live in the area say traffic on this stretch of roadway has steadily increased in the past 25 years. Mike Lamp has run an IGA supermarket for many of those years. He's seen businesses increase in the neighborhood, but he says that's not the only reason for the traffic increase.

"People like to go out and go places. A lot of families have two cars. It's not uncommon for Mom to be headed in one direction, and Dad to be headed in another direction," says Mike.

There is a plan to widen Route 7, but the Ohio Department of Highways says the project will cover the outskirts of Marietta to Pike Street. ODOT says that's because of the businesses that have come along in recent years. Department planner Debbie Haught says there could be a lot of factors in the recent accidents, including speed and passing in no-passing areas.

"This stretch of road has always been bad. It's just not a matter of if, but when," Patrick Beatty says.

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