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NEW CASTLE With no driver, tractor-trailer crosses busy road, rams house



Published: Thu, April 18, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The owner had vacated the house two weeks ago in anticipation of its sale this week.

By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- An unattended tractor-trailer went sailing downhill into a busy intersection before crashing into a vacant house Wednesday.

"I just came through the intersection and was parking my car when I heard 'kaboom,' " said Barb Snyder of Shenango Township.

No one was injured, but the house, at 1616 Moravia St., just a few feet from the New Castle city line, was thought to be off its foundation from the force of the crash, said township Patrolman Dave Lough.

Truck's owner

The truck, owned by Retort Paving of New Castle, was parked on a steep section of Moravia Street before it rolled off and crashed into the house just before 6 p.m., Lough said.

The scene attracted nearly 100 people into the street throughout the evening, who watched firefighters and McCormick Truck and Trailer, a towing company, slowly inch the truck out of the house. At one point the tow truck's front wheels were pulled off the ground by the weight of the tractor-trailer.

Lough said they are trying to determine who had possession of the truck when it crashed.

It was apparently stopped at the top of the street for about 10 minutes before gliding down the hill, he said. There was about 1,000 tons of paving equipment on the trailer, police said.

The truck was impounded and will be looked at by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation today, he said.

Snyder, who lives about a block from the damaged house, said there was no one else in the usually busy intersection of Moravia Street and Pa. Route 168 when the truck started down the hill.

Neighbors, however, said they heard the crash as the truck took out a stop sign and a 30-foot high pine tree before hitting the house.

Damage to house

Ron Rizzo of RAR Engineering was called to check out the house to ensure it did not collapse. The house appeared to be three to four inches off its foundation.

Owner Rita Frengel said the house has been for sale for about a year and was set to be sold later this week.

All of Frengel's belongings had been removed about two weeks ago, said her son, Joe Frengel. No one was living in the house.

"We just cleared everything out, and we were getting ready for the sale," he said.




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