OHIO: Trooper Jason Phillips making slow recovery after being hit by wrong-way driver Michael Marchak Jr. under the influence of meth

DWI HIT PARADE Copyright 2019

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Trooper after crash: Therapy, God helping recovery

Trooper Jason Phillips and his parents joined his colleagues at the Ohio Highway Patrol Wednesday to honor those who saved his life after a wrong-way driver crashed into his cruiser in June on Interstate 71 in Morrow County. Phillips, who is still recovering from major injuries, including brain trauma, said “home, therapy and God” are helping him recover.

The commanders at the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy had already moved the furniture around to clear a space for Trooper Jason Phillips’ wheelchair.

Then word spread through the building: Better find a chair because Phillips had arrived and was determined to walk down that long academy hallway under his own power.

Wednesday was the day that Phillips and his parents would get a chance to show two important things. First, that no matter how much life has changed for them since a wrong-way driver nearly killed Phillips in a fiery on-duty crash on June 27, God is good and they remain hopeful in his recovery. Secondly, join in gratitude with hundreds of people gathered to honor all those who saved Phillips’ life after that crash on Interstate 71 in Morrow County.

Trooper/Motorist Sustain Injuries in Morrow County Crash

COLUMBUS – An Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper and another motorist were injured this morning in a two-vehicle crash that occurred on Interstate 71 near Mount Gilead.

Trooper-Jason-Phillips-car-caught-fire-after-being-hit-by-wrong-way-meth-head-OVI-driver-Marchack Jr..-Photo-Ohio-State-Highway-Patrol

At approximately 2:40 a.m., a trooper was dispatched to locate a possible impaired driver reported to be in the area of milepost 155 on Interstate 71. The trooper was struck head-on by another vehicle traveling south in the northbound lanes. As a result of the crash, both vehicles caught fire.

A Good Samaritan stopped to provide assistance after the crash and was also injured. The driver of the wrong-way vehicle was transported to a hospital in Mansfield. The trooper and Good Samaritan were flown to hospitals in Columbus.


UPDATE – 8:00 a.m.

Trooper Jason Phillips was flown to the OSU Medical Center and is in critical condition. The driver of the wrong-way vehicle, Michael Marchak Jr, 36, of Mansfield, is listed in critical condition at OhioHealth-MedCentral Hospital in Mansfield. Further investigation has determined the vehicle being driven by Marchak is the same vehicle Trooper Phillips was dispatched to investigate.

Update – 11:00 a.m.

Trooper Jason Phillips remains in critical condition. He joined the Patrol as a member of the 164th Academy Class and earned his commission last November.


The Good Samaritan, Mr. Koso Tsiboe, 27, of Galloway, was treated for a minor leg injury and released from the OSU Medical Center.

Marchak remains in critical condition at OhioHealth MedCentral.


Update – 3:00 p.m.

Trooper Phillips and Mr. Marchak are stable but remain in critical condition.


MORROW COUNTY, OH (WCMH) — For the first time, Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Jason Phillips spoke publicly about the aftermath of the crash which nearly claimed his life.

Investigators said that the wrong-way driver, later identified as Michael Marchak Jr., crashed into Phillips cruiser at a high rate of speed.

  • two counts of aggravated vehicular assault,
  • receiving stolen property,
  • operating a vehicle impaired
  • and driving under suspension.

Marchak indicted in Morrow County on vehicular assault, stolen property, driving while impaired, suspended

Michael-Marchak-Jr.-36-of-Mansfield-speaks-with-his-attorney-William-Leber-photo-courtesy-of-Mansfield-News-Journal (Photo: Lou Whitmire)

FROM MANSFIELD NEWS-JOURNAL: Marchak was indicted Aug. 22, 2019, in Morrow County on two counts of aggravated vehicular assault, felonies of the second degree; one count of receiving stolen property, a fourth-degree felony; operating a  vehicle impaired, a first degree misdemeanor; and driving under suspension, also a first-degree misdemeanor, according to court records.

Morrow County Common Pleas Judge Robert C. Hickson Jr. set a $50,000 cash bond for Marchak, who was dressed in a green-and-white striped jail suit. Marchak is not allowed to post 10 percent of the bond, Morrow County Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Smith.

Smith said Marchak has a history of not showing up for court and an extensive arrest record dating back to 2002 and also has convictions in Florida. Court officials said at Friday’s arraignment that Marchak was driving a stolen vehicle when he hit the trooper’s cruiser in June.

Marchak was taken to the Richland County Jail on Thursday on an unrelated warrant out of Richland County when he appeared for a hearing on a fifth-degree felony-drug possession charge in Delaware County Common Pleas Court, his attorney William Leber told media following the court proceeding. Leber said Marchak is awaiting sentencing on that case.

Marchak tested positive for methamphetamine after the I-71 crash, a spokesman for the Ohio Highway Patrol said in July.

Leber said Marchak has prior charges which involved drugs and alcohol.

“Michael needs to get some rehabilitation of mental health, drug and alcohol and physical rehabilitation,” Leber said.

Hickson ordered complete drug and alcohol screenings for Marchak, stating he was concerned for public safety. MORE