Alcohol suspected in I-75 crash that left four orphaned

Front Row, The Barhorst children Tori, age 8, Logan, age 11, Haley, age 9, and (top left) Tyler, 18, were left orphaned when their parents, (top right) Scott and Michelle Barhorst were killed on I-75 in Ohio. (Barhorst FaceBook photo taken at Ripley's Aquarium in the Smokies)

A Madisonville, Tenn. couple on their way to spend holidays with relatives in St. Marys, Ohio, was among four killed in a head-on collision early Sunday morning near Frankin, Ohio.

Michelle Barhorst of Madisonville was driving a van northbound on Interstate 75 when a suspected intoxicated driver turned around and headed southbound in the northbound lanes, colliding head-on with the van Barhorst was driving. The crash killed both drivers and Barhorst’s husband, leaving four children orphaned.

According to Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Matt Hamilton, Joshua Nkansah, 40, of Fairfield, Ohio was traveling on Interstate 75 northbound ahead of the Barhorst’s van then made a U-turn heading south in the northbound lanes of I-75 near Middletown. His 1997 Dodge minivan collided head-on with a 2000 Chrysler minivan driven by Michelle Barhorst of Madisonville, Tenn. Barhorst’s husband, Scott and their four children were passengers.

Michelle Barhorst, Nkansah and Nkansah’s 7-year-old son, David, were pronounced dead at the scene. Scott Barhorst, 37, was flown to University Hospital in Cincinnati where he also died as a result of his injuries.

Front Row, The Barhorst children Tori, age 8, Logan, age 11, Haley, age 9, and (top left) Tyler, 18, were left orphaned when their parents, (top right) Scott and Michelle Barhorst were killed on I-75 in Ohio. (Barhorst FaceBook photo taken at Ripley's Aquarium in the Smokies)

Front Row, The Barhorst children Tori, age 8, Logan, age 11, Haley, age 9, and (top left) Tyler, 18, were left orphaned when their parents, (top right) Scott and Michelle Barhorst were killed on I-75 in Ohio. (Barhorst FaceBook photo taken at Ripley’s Aquarium in the Smokies)

Nkansah’s 4-year-old son, Darius, was taken to Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati where his condition was listed as critical, Tuesday.

Tori Barhorst, age 8, and 11-year-old Logan Barhorst were transported to Atrium Hospital then airlifted to Dayton Children’s Hospital with life threatening injuries. They were listed in fair condition Tuesday. Haley Barhorst, age 9, was flown directly to Dayton Children’s Hospital. She remained in critical condition. Tyler Barhorst, 18, was taken to Atrium Hospital and has since been released. He is a senior at Sequoyah High School in Madisonville,

The Barhorsts were on their way to St. Marys, Ohio, to visit family members for Christmas.

James Gilchrist of Little Rock, Arkansas, who was traveling behind the van involved in the accident said he and his family were only seven miles from their destination.

It’s scary,” he said. “You’re close to something really terrible, and you are thankful that everybody in your car is safe. And you are praying that the people in the other car are okay.”

Gilchrist had children in the car with him, and said he is grateful for every day that he is with them.

Life is a precious thing,” he said. “This is a real tragedy.”

The Ohio State Patrol said it appears that Nkansah was going northbound on I-75. Nkansah apparently made a U-turn on the highway around Franklin, and then started going southbound in the wrong lane. He said alcohol appeared to be a factor in the accident.

I-75 north was closed for around four hours while investigators worked at the scene.

They had recently relocated from Ohio to Madisonville, TN due to work.

The bodies of the victims were transferred to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

Drew Simon, WHIO-TV contributed to this report.

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One Response to “Alcohol suspected in I-75 crash that left four orphaned”

  1. Nancy lewis says:

    This is one of the most heartbreaking stories I have ever read, such a tragedy. God bless these little angels, please God heal then of their injuries and stay with them through out their lives. God Bless

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