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How that Horrifying 8-Car Crash on the Brent Spence Bridge Happened

The terrifying crash Saturday on the Brent Spence Bridge that sent one vehicle from the top deck to the bottom deck all started when one driver tried to exit at Covington's Fifth Street across two lanes of traffic.

What followed were a few horrifying seconds of vehicular violence.

The River City News obtained the report from the Covington Police on Tuesday morning.

Harold McDaniel, 75, of Cleveland, was in his 1990 Ford when he suddenly decided to exit southbound Interstate 75 to Covington from two lanes away. McDaniel was struck by a tractor trailer driven by Nathaniel Hampton, 53, of Greensboro, NC. McDaniel's vehicle spun, hit the attenuator, and then the right wall on the bridge where it came to a rest.

Hampton's truck, after striking McDaniel, went left across all lanes of traffic and struck a 2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue with four passengers inside: Van Oden, 58; Emmie Chappell, 24; Jarrett Holifield, 19; and April McDonald, 19, all from Cincinnati. Hampton's truck then rode up onto the barrier but stayed atop the bridge.

The Oldsmobile and its four passengers went over the top deck, fell below, took out a light pole, and was then struck by a 2006 Volkswagen Touareg driven by Sergio Franciamore, 45, of Hudson, FL. 

On the lower level, in his unsuccessful attempt to avoid striking the falling Oldsmobile's driver side, Franciamore's Volkswagen veered right, striking a 2009 Toyota Venza with two passengers: Brandon Friason, 32, and Jaelynn Friason, 4, both of Cincinnati. After being hit, Friason's Venza smashed into the right wall while Franciamore's Volkswagen, which had been pulling a trailer, continued on to strike a 1999 Ford Expedition driven by Eugene Williams, 53, of Grove Port, OH. Williams' SUV then struck the right wall. Franciamore's trailer went under the Expedition, sending it up the right barrier and nearly pushing it over the side to Fourth Street, but the SUV came to a rest.

When the Oldsmobile Intrigue went over the side of the top deck and fell to the lower deck, debris from the vehicle struck a 2004 Toyota Sienna with Christopher Coffee, 42, and Kristi Coffee, 31, both of Broomfield, CO, inside. Debris also damaged a 2009 Chevrolet Silverado Amanda Walker, 26, and Aaron Avelar, 28, both of Burlington, inside.

In all, six people were injured with the most serious among them being transported to St. Elizabeth Hospital and University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

The police report from the accident also indicated that the license plate on the Toyota Venza was not registered to the appropriate vehicle and that the driver of the Oldsmobile that dropped from the top deck to the bottom did not have a license.

The crash shut down the Brent Spence Bridge, the busy connector between Kentucky and Ohio that transports both Interstates 71 and 75, for several hours.

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-Michael Monks, editor

Photo: Crash scene as seen from Mainstrasse Village/RCN file