COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) — Columbus police are investigating a single-vehicle crash that killed three men on the west side early Friday morning.
A passerby discovered a wrecked SUV before 7:30 Friday morning near the train tracks along McKinley Road, just south of Trabue Road. All three men were thrown from the vehicle, according to officers. Police said the time of the crash wasn't known but they believe it happened around 2 or 3 a.m. The victims were later identified by police as Ryan Riley, 35, Johnny Collins, 35, and Glenn Featherson, Jr., 58.
Family and friends were overwhelmed with emotion and comforted each other at the scene Friday morning.
“It’s just a terrible thing, he was a great guy,” said Kevin Jarvis, a family friend of Ryan Riley.
Jarvis said Riley, who was his long-time friend and business partner, was driving. He said his friend was also a father of two and his wife is expecting their third.
“Happy go-lucky guy, great father like last night he was at the ball game with his kids,” said Jarvis.
The Columbus Police Accident Investigation Unit was gathering debris and other evidence across roughly 50 yards. Police believe the SUV was travelling northbound on McKinley Avenue at a high rate of speed when the driver lost control.
Investigators believe speed may be to blame but Jarvis doesn’t think so.
“He (Riley) told me there was something wrong with that truck, it was locking up the axle or something in all wheel drive, he would drive and said it would lock up. So I don’t know if he was really going fast because he knew he had a problem with that truck,” said Jarvis.
"It wasn’t until sunrise when someone saw the mangled SUV and called 911 that the crash scene was found. “I’ve worked this part of town before and it’s a dark area at night but we haven’t had a history of a lot of serious crashes here,” said Lt. Paul Weiner with the Columbus Police Department. Crucial hours that loved ones think that could’ve been used to save their lives.
“We were super close, best friend I ever had, great guy,” Jarvis stated.
As family members were left to pick up the pieces, they were also left with so many unanswered questions.
Investigators said due to the location where the SUV came to rest next to the railroad tracks, there were early reports a train may have been involved. Police say that is not what happened, and Norfolk Southern Railway said no train has used the tracks in several weeks.