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Two Ohio residents killed on Turnpike during storm

A late-summer storm system rushed through rural northeast Ohio on Saturday, ripping houses from their foundations, tearing a 65-foot deep crater into a road, and causing an accident that killed a couple on the Ohio Turnpike, authorities said.

David P. Martin and Laura L. Martin, both 50 and residents of Plain City in central Ohio, where killed when their car hydroplaned on roadway water during a heavy rainfall about 9:25 a.m. south of Youngstown, near the eastern end of the toll road.

The State Highway Patrol said the eastbound vehicle ran off the road, crossed the median and hit a westbound truck filled with gravel. The truck flipped over and dumped its load, forcing a shutdown of the turnpike during the cleanup.

The truck driver, David E. Kaminski, 36, of Ravenna, escaped injury.

Gov. Bob Taft declared a state of emergency in Columbiana County, the hardest hit area. He said the state would help clear storm debris from roads and help deliver 3,000 gallons of drinking water to Lisbon, where flooding broke the main water line to the village.

Five highways in the Lisbon area were flooded or closed because of storm debris.

Rushing water left a hole about 65 feet deep and 125 feet wide in state Route 45 near Salem in Columbiana County, and a car that plunged into the crater landed on its top in a creek. The two people inside the car were not hurt, said Lt. William Thompson of the State Highway Patrol’s Lisbon post.

“We’re not sure if they were on the road when it washed away or if they drove over the cliff down into the ravine,” Thompson said.

Rising water swept away part of the entrance roadway to Guilford Lake State Park, located in Columbiana County southwest of Youngstown.

“It was nonstop rain and thunder and lightning,” said Bob Hum, campground manager at the state park. As for the damaged road, “The guardrail is hanging in midair,” Hum said.

About two dozen campers checked out of the 40-campsite location Saturday. Water covered the sand leading to a swimming beach.

Six inches of rain fell between 10 p.m. Friday and 4 a.m. Saturday on this area about 60 miles southeast of Cleveland, and more heavy rain was possible through Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

Columbiana County Sheriff David Smith said several homes were pulled off their foundations, forcing about 60 people to sleep on cots and the floor at a shelter set up at David Anderson High School in Lisbon.

One man was presumed dead when his home was carried off, but he was found in a tree unhurt, authorities said.

“One minute the creek was rising slowly and the next minute it was a total disaster,” Smith said.

Federal disaster officials were determining property damage estimates, he said.

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