Crash on I-70 kills child, leaves mother in critical condition.
Barbara Hershberger, 33, of 1191 Addison Dr. died of massive head and other injuries at 5:45 p.m. and her daughter, Michelle Richman, 3, died at Children’s Hospital about 4 p.m. Tuesday May 30, 1989, 90 minutes after the accident at a construction crossover on I-70, on the East Side of Columbus. Michelle was thrown from the car her mother was driving. Investigators have linked green paint on an Oregon license plate and blue paint on the license plate frame holding it to paint smears on the Hershberger car. Officers think the tractor-trailer with the Oregon license plate, and the rig’s driver, were involved in the fatal accident. The paint smears puzzled accident investigators for a time Tuesday after the crash, when they examined Hershberger’s Honda Accord, because blue and green paint are not usually found together on a motor vehicle. Then they saw the tractor-trailer believed to have caused the accident and found the blue frame, mounted on the bumper, containing three plates, one of them green. State Highway Patrol troopers stopped the truck on I-70 near Eaton, Ohio, about two hours after the accident. Police and troopers said the accident apparently occurred when a tractor- trailer changed lanes in a construction area, clipped the rear of Hershberger’s car and forced it across a 3-inch high divider into eastbound traffic. Hershberger’s car collided with an eastbound car. The driver of the tractor-trailer, Johnny Reece, 45, of Lawton, Okla., denied being involved. Reece was driving the tractor-trailer for Sam Tanksley Trucking of Cape Girardeau, MoInvestigators seized the license plate frame and the plates from Reece’s rig because the green Oregon plate and the blue metal frame were damaged. He also said it appears that silver paint was left on the frame from an accident. Hershberger’s car was silver.