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Here's Part of What Happened When Car Fell Off Combs Hehl Bridge

More is now known about the series of car accidents that took place on the Combs Hehl Bridge on eastbound Interstate 275 last week in which one vehicle fell from the span into the Ohio River below.

That vehicle remains submerged, eight days later, as investigators wait for safer waters before sending divers and equipment in to retrieve it.

The identity of the victim or victims has not been made public, though Campbell County Police stated last week that they believe they know who the driver is but are waiting for physical evidence before announcing.

Meanwhile, the police department released accident reports from four other crashes that took place on the bridge at the same time that day.

The entire event is being treated as five separate collisions, Campbell County Police Chief Craig Sorrell said this week. "By separate collisions we mean that based on our investigation thus far, following the first collision, with the abrupt slowing down and stoppage of traffic, there were four other collisions," the chief said in a statement. 

A report on the collision that involved the car that fell from the bridge has not yet been released publicly because it won't be completed until the vehicle is retrieved.

In one crash, a 2015 Kia Optima driven by Brittany Asch crashed into the back of a 2007 Ford Five Hundred driven by Diane Nixon. According to the police report, Asch's vehicle did not slow down in time to avoid the collision with Nixon's car. The Ford Five Hundred, when struck, did a 180-degree turn and slammed into the bridge's wall. The report alleges that Asch was following too closely and going too fast to slow down in time when Nixon began to slow due to the crash ahead involving the vehicle that went off the bridge.

Both drivers were transported to hospitals (Mercy Anderson in Ohio and St. Elizabeth Ft. Thomas) vehicles suffered severe damage and were towed from the scene.

In another crash, a 2007 Chevrolet Impala operated by Kaulin Bauer was crossing the bridge when the driver observed a tractor trailer cross from the far left lane to the right shoulder. Bauer then noticed a 2006 Infinity G35 driven by Brent Lanman stopping in front of him and the cars collided. Due to the impact, Lanman's vehicle then struck a 2015 Kia Optima driven by Brian Hillner. 

All three vehicles were towed from the scene but all the drivers and Bauer's passenger, Kerry Bauer, were not seriously hurt.

In a third accident, Kaitlyn Hall was driving a 2001 Mercury Cougar when she began to slow down after noticing a crash scene ahead. At that time, a 2003 Honda Accord driven by Taylor Glasgow struck the rear of Hall's car. Though the damage was not severe on either vehicle, one of the drivers was transported to University of Cincinnati Medical Center, though the semi-redacted report does not say which one.

In the fourth crash, the report indicates that it was another case of one vehicle slowing down and an approaching vehicle crashing into it. Christopher Batchler was driving a commercial truck that collided with a 2015 GMC Van operated by Latifah Hagens. Neither vehicle suffered serious damage, the report stated.

Further details about the crashes and the circumstances are expected to be released when the vehicle that fell from the bridge is retrieved from the river.

Campbell County Police said Tuesday that the earliest the Boone County Water Rescue Team would be able to get in the river would be Thursday or Friday this week.

-Staff report

Photo: Traffic backed up after series of crashes on Combs Hehl Bridge last week