Trucker charged after I-80 crash; blames candy
By Elise Franco
A truck driver from Nazareth, Pa., is charged with failure to control after crashing his tractor-trailer on Interstate 80, closing most westbound lanes for five hours.
Sgt. Rick Brown, of the Ohio State Highway Patrol in Canfield, said Troy Garr, who was driving for Penske Truck Leasing of Fort Wayne, Ind., was eastbound on I-80 about 3:45 a.m. Friday when he lost control of the vehicle. The accident occurred near the state Route 46 exit in Austintown.
Brown said the truck drove into the median, struck the wire guardrail and rolled onto its side before coming to rest in the westbound lane.
“After we investigated, we determined that there was a reason he lost control,” he said of why Garr was charged.
Austintown Fire Chief Andy Frost Jr. said Garr told fire personnel he was trying to open a piece of candy when he lost control.
Frost said about 400 gallons of diesel fuel spilled onto the road as a result of the accident. The Ohio Department of Transportation and Mahoning County Haz Mat were called to the scene to assist.
“That’s a lot of diesel fuel to spill,” he said. “We had the road completely closed for a while, and then we had it down to one lane on the west side.”
Frost said the scene was cleared and all lanes reopened about 8:30 a.m.
Brown said the scene took so long to clear because of the cleanup work.
“They had to clean up the fuel and get the truck back up,” he said.
Brown said ODOT used sand to help absorb excess fuel on the ground. He said the spill was far enough from the Meander Reservoir that the ground and water weren’t contaminated.
Brown said Garr wasn’t injured, and no other vehicles were involved in the accident.
“What really made it bad was that it was a semi on its side for so long,” he said. “The motorists really suffered.”