ZANESVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) - A 21-year-old off-duty Muskingum County deputy was among three people who were killed in a two-vehicle head-on collision that also injured four children Wednesday morning on U.S. 22 near the Perry County line.
The crash occurred near 6255 Maysville Pike south of Zanesville at around 9 a.m. and U.S. 22 is closed near State Route 345 just south of Zanesville as a result of the crash.
Preliminary reports indicate Deputy Zackary Smith, who was driving a pickup truck westbound on U.S. 22, drove left of the center line and struck a vehicle driven by Courtney Strate head-on, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Strate, 26, of East Fultonham, was driving a minivan eastbound with passenger 47-year-old Michelle Moody and four children.
Strate and Moody were pronounced dead at the scene and had to be extricated from the vehicle.
Four children, all of East Fultonham, in the vehicle with Strate and Moody, 6-year-old Westin Rich, 3-year-old Wrenley Strate, and 2-year-old Waylan Strate, were transported to Genesis hospital and were later transported to the Children’s Hospital in Columbus and are now in stable condition. Wrett Rich, who is 5 years old, was life-flighted to Children’s Hospital and is in critical condition.
It's unknown if those involved in the crash were wearing seatbelts, officials said.
Smith, of Roseville, was hired by the Muskingum County Sheriff's Office as a part-time corrections officer Feb. 27, 2017. He became a full-time employee as a deputy in the jail on June 13, 2017.
Smith moved to road deputy April 5, according to the Muskingum County Sheriff's Office.
"Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to Zack's family for their loss as well as the other family involved in the accident," Muskingum County Sheriff Matthew Lutz said.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol Zanesville Post, the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office and other emergency crews responded to the scene.
The crash remains under investigation, according to the Zanesville Post of the Highway Patrol.
No other details have been released.