Friends, family mourn teen killed in crash with tanker on Route 8

By KELLY BYER and SEAN MCDONNELL
USA TODAY NETWORK OHIO
Riley Conn, right, spray paints the name of her boyfriend Jared Marcum on a rock as she and his friends honor his memory at Glen Oak High School, where Marcum was a 2020 graduate Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020 in North Canton, Ohio. Marcum was killed Tuesday when his car was involved in an accident on Rt. 8 with a tanker truck in Akron.

Family and friends are mourning the loss of a recent GlenOak High School graduate who died in a fiery crash on state Route 8.

nullThe Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office on Wednesday identified the man as Jared Marcum, 18, of Plain Township in Stark County.

Jared Marcum, 18, died in a crash on state Route 8.

Authorities said Marcum was involved in a crash with a tanker truck about 7:45 a.m. Tuesday on state Route 8 North between Tallmadge and Howe avenues. The crash and ensuing blaze closed the highway and resulted in evacuations of area homes and businesses in a half-mile radius around the scene of the crash and a small fire in the nearby Cuyahoga River.

The aftermath of a fatal crash between a car and tanker truck on Route 8 just before 8 a.m. Tuesday.

The driver of the tanker truck did not sustain any serious injuries, authorities said.

Police said the car was engulfed and photos from the scene show that the tanker truck caught fire as well.

The fire caused closure of the Gorge Metro Park nearby. The fire spread to a sewer, closed the parking lot the park, and spread to the Cuyahoga River.

An Akron Public Schools spokesman said North High School was evacuated due to the crash. No students were in the building, since the school system started classes remotely.

Summa Health’s headquarters on Gorge Boulevard was completely evacuated, spokesman Mike Bernstein said.

Sosina Habt, a medical assistant at Summa Akron City Hospital, was on her way to a training session at a Summa Health facility on Gorge Avenue when she got turned away by Akron police.

“I’ve been here since 8 a.m.” she said around 9:30 a.m., with her car in a parking lot off Tallmadge at state Route 8.

Bernstein said normally 700 people work at the Akron-based hospital system’s headquarters, but Bernstein was not sure how many were there when they were asked to evacuate.

Ohio Department of Transportation cameras showed black smoke rising from the scene, and traffic backed up past Tallmadge Avenue.

Cameras also showed traffic backed up as far south as the Exchange Street interchange. As vehicles come to a halt, the high tower of black smoke could be seen in the distance from downtown Akron.

Traffic was also backed up as far north as the Front Street interchange in Cuyahoga Falls.

The crash also delayed bus service. Akron METRO RTA tweeted to let riders know to expect significant delays due to the crash.

Family, friends mourn teen driver

Marcum was a 2020 graduate of GlenOak High School in Plain Township.

On Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 people gathered outside the high school to paint a rock in Marcum’s memory. Friends and family hugged through tears and watched people spray paint his name and date of death on the rock.

Marcum’s girlfriend, Riley Conn, said he had just started as a civil engineering student at the University of Akron. She described Marcum as a protective and lovable person who tried to make others smile and laugh.

“He helped me through my dark times as well,” she said.

Marcum played lacrosse his first two years of high school and was involved in theater tech.

Conn said they were friends before Marcum asked her out during a tech project freshman year. Their four-year anniversary would have been next month.

Aubrey Porter, a GlenOak junior who coordinated the rock painting, said the couple often held hands and walked to classes together. They formed a small friend group after Marcum encouraged Porter, who was often nervous about talking to others, to socialize.

“He was really sarcastic,” Porter said.

They both played in the band, where Marcum played trombone. Porter recalled fast-food dinners after Friday night football games with friends, realizing now how close she and Marcum had been.

“He was so open about things,” she said.

Rachel Young, who was two grades below Marcum, said she knew him from jazz band.

“We would always talk and joke around,” she said.

Young said Marcum also was a proud member of GlenOak’s career technical education program for light and sound technologies.

“He always was very responsible,” she said. “He was a leader.”

Superintendent Brent May sent a statement to staff letting them know of the former student’s passing.

“I write this communication with a heavy heart,” May said in an email. “Jared Marcum, a 2020 GlenOak graduate, was killed tragically today in a car accident near Akron, Ohio. I had the privilege of coaching Jared in Little League baseball through Holly Hills. Jared was a member of the GlenOak High School Band, along with other activities, and was a wonderful young man and will be greatly missed.”