Tractor-trailer rig slams into traffic on I-75; 6 injured

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 17

CYGNET — A tractor-trailer rig didn’t stop when it approached a traffic jam on southbound I-75 yesterday, slamming into stopped traffic and injuring six people, the Ohio Highway Patrol said.

A total of eight vehicles were involved in the crash, which occurred about 4:30 p.m., about one mile south of Cygnet in Wood County. Five had to be towed away. It took nearly three hours to clear away the scene and reopen the interstate to southbound traffic.

Troopers said the truck appeared to be traveling about 65 mph at the moment of impact. Its driver, Victor Scott, 37, of Flint, Mich., was being treated last night in Wood County Hospital, Bowling Green, for minor injuries.

Troopers said charges against him will be filed tomorrow.

Five other people were injured in the melee.

David Barnes, 47, of Oak Harbor, and Brian Stansberry, 39, of Carey, were taken by air ambulance to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, Toledo, where they were listed in fair condition last night.

A woman, whose name was not available last night, was flown to Medical College of Ohio Hospital, Toledo, and was in critical condition, troopers said.

Two other people, whose names also were not available, were in one of the vehicles involved in the chain reaction accident.

Both were treated at Blanchard Valley Regional Health Center, Findlay.

Traffic had stopped on the interstate because of a large construction project a few miles south in Hancock County, Sgt. Stephen Babich said.

Mr. Scott did not brake until the truck was a few feet from the point of impact, if then, he said.

The truck, which was in the left lane, piled into two stopped southbound vehicles: a minivan with Mr. Barnes and Mr. Stansberry inside and the woman’s Honda sedan, troopers said.

The truck climbed partially over the two vehicles, entangling them into its bumper and tires.

Once the truck was on top of the vehicles, Sergeant Babich said, it was unable to steer because of the entangled axle.

The truck, pushing and carrying the other two, then crossed the median and went into the left northbound lane. No northbound cars were struck.

The two vehicles carried across the median were both crushed. “The minivan was the size of two office desks,” Sergeant Babich said.

Meanwhile, the truck’s initial collision set off a chain reaction of vehicles colliding, causing serious damage to five other vehicles. The two people transported to Blanchard Valley were in one or two of those vehicles.

Witnesses told troopers the truck was traveling at a high rate of speed at the time of the crash. One driver, who said she was traveling 59 mph, said the truck had passed her moments before the accident. Another car, whose occupants said they were traveling at 65 mph, was keeping pace immediately behind the truck.

The speed limit for trucks on that stretch of I-75 is 55 mph.