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Man hurt in accident on I-76



Published: Sat, April 23, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Traffic was backed up for miles in both directions.

LAKE MILTON -- An 18-wheeler smashed into a concrete barrier and overturned in an Interstate 76 construction zone Saturday, forcing the closure of the highway for six hours and creating a miles-long traffic jam in each direction.

The accident occurred at 12:15 p.m. near Bailey Road, and the interstate did not reopen until 6:12 p.m., the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.

The driver of the truck, Namik Poljic, 35, of Phoenix was in critical condition Saturday night in the intensive care unit of St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown. He was taken there by medical helicopter.

Poljic was driving west in the tractor-trailer when it went off the right side of the highway and out of control, police said. The truck shot back across the westbound lanes and smashed into a concrete barrier that separates east and westbound traffic, the patrol said.

The truck and debris blocked all four lanes of traffic, they said. Meanwhile, cars and trucks stacked up for miles in both directions.

Troopers diverted traffic off the interstate at Bailey Road on the westbound side and at state Route 534 on the eastbound side.

The accident remained under investigation Saturday night, the patrol said.




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