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UPDATE: Three dead in accident that closes I-80 near Hubbard



Published: Mon, May 24, 2010 @ 10:19 p.m.

HUBBARD — Three people were killed Monday in a three-vehicle accident on Interstate 80 eastbound in Hubbard Township.

The accident involved two tractor-trailers and a sport-utility vehicle as traffic was slowing down for roadwork. The crash site is across the median from the truck scales between the Hubbard and Belmont Avenue exits.

Shirley Gilmore, 66, of Warren, and her two passengers, David Westenfelder, 56, and Wendy Frost, no age available, both of Surprise, Ariz., were pronounced dead at the scene.

Gilmore was stopped in traffic in the right lane of eastbound Interstate 80 behind a FedEx semi-tractor/double trailer driven by Brian Pepson, 35, of Jermyn, Pa.

Both vehicles were stopped in an area of road construction.

A semi-tractor/trailer, driven by Eugene R. White, 62, of Shiloh, Ohio, failed to stop, striking Gilmore's vehicle in the rear at 1:50 p.m. Monday, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol¹s Warren Post.

White sustained minor injuries and refused treatment. Pepson wasn¹t injured.

The crash remains under investigation, and charges are pending, the patrol said.

Traffic on I-80 was stopped between the accident site and Belmont Avenue, a distance of about 3 miles. The Ohio Department of Transportation was diverting traffic after that point.

The Trumbull County coroner examined the bodies in a tent set up along the highway.

One lane on I-80 eastbound reopened at about 8 p.m. between state Route 193 and U.S. Route 62, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.


Comments

1shutyourface(246 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Wow brutal accident. I hope somehow the people are ok but that looks really bad.80 is really dangerous.

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2Pyroc(107 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I think this is at least the third time in 2 months that there has been a major accident on this particular stretch of I-80. Could a reporter from the Vindy please confirm this , and try to find out why this stretch of highway is so dangerous ?

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3jrolley325(775 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

word is that there's at least 3 dead.

another trucker rear-ending somebody while traffic was slowed for construction.

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4spin(15 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Maybe the Vindicator should post another picture of the accident , it looks as if their is a body in the front seat of the burgundy car. I hope im seeing it wrong?!
Thoughts and prayers are w the families of the deceased.

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5jrolley325(775 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

usually when you see a white sheet, it means there's a body behind it.

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6itsjoan(1 comment)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I saw this accident while driving westbound. It was terrible. The SUV may be the most destroyed vehicle I've ever seen in person. If I remember correctly, the offending semi's trailer had a slogan to the effect of "proud to serve"--I hope the trucking company is proud that their driver has killed three innocent people!!

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7djblkthunder(1 comment)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I was on I-80 at the time of the accident,I was several cars in front of the accident. I saw the collision from my rear view mirror.The accident looked like something out of the movies. I didn't know why the cars in front of me were slowing down.I didn't see any advance warning of road construction signs. I believe if there were signs posted ahead of this area,drivers would have anticipated cars slowing down. If the sings are there...I missed them. I thank God and I pray for the victims and their families.Interstate 80 is such a dangerous interstate,I try to avoid I-80 as much as possible...as a matter of fact, had planed to take 208 into Grove City.

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8citizen1776(10 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Don't believe the crap you hear about how safe truck drivers are. They are the most dangerous people and vehicles on the road.

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9Bippu(1 comment)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

djblkthunder: There were signs posted for up to 2 miles back from the construction work.

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10VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I-80 is a major hub road connecting Eastern Atlantic States and Western America. After 300 some miles through scenic Pennsylvania with very little traffic, travelers fly through the Valley in near comatose condition and suddenly find themselves for the first time in heavy suburban traffic. From Sharon, Pa. to the I-76 split, locals are taking their lives in their hands when they enter this section of I-80. It is a very dangerous highway and requires alert, heads-up defensive driving.

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11myogi(3 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

My deepest condolences to the families involved in this terrific accident. May God bring them comfort and hold them all in the palms of his hands. My family was involved in a tragic accident many years ago, and it involved two of my loved ones dying. To know what these poor families are going through at this time, and for the rest of their lives, brings me much sadness.

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12walter_sobchak(1747 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

The stretch of I-80 from the I-76 split to Sharon is extremely heavily traveled and needs to be three lanes wide. There is heavy truck traffic and some long grades that are very steep. Not to mention the merging with State Route 11 for about 4 miles with the dangerous left lane exits. (Left lane exit ramps on Interstates should be absolutely prohibited under federal law.) Plus, PA60 will soon be a full interstate I-376, which should mean even more truck traffic. If there were three lanes, it would be much easier to maintain traffic.

Maybe Little Timmy Ryan can have Obama release some money from his stimulus/slush fund and get this widening project on the front burner before the next fatal accident!

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13Nunya(1356 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

@citizen1776

You're right,..

I don't break the speed limit however to get away from those catastrophic liabilities. I accelerate to separate myself from large accident prone trucks.

When stopped or slowed down I keep a measured maneuver distance between my vehicle and the vehicles in front.

As well as keep an eye trained on my rear view mirror for oncoming from the rear. Just so if I have to lay on the horn to alert others while maneuvering my vehicle I can.

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14Nunya(1356 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

@walter_sobchak

Interesting,..

First out I'll express my sincere condolences to the families of those law abiding victims at such a heart wrenching time.

See other than that the Obama administration actually is honoring rep Ryan's request to repair the road.

This horrid ordeal was a result of a non attentive truck driver which has nothing to do with political infusion.

See even then why didn't your republican brand of representation fix it while they had 8 years to do it?

See they could have with a healthier economy that they inherited but preyed upon and were methodically running bankrupt.

See how that works there Sobchak?

See it's those like you that can even find a way to have a sensible idea. Totally upended and out of palatable presentation by your insistence to hate yourself right into tasteless irrelevancy.

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15picturethis(18 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I am in the habit of turning on my HAZARD lights when I first begin to see slowed traffic ahead of me. My daughter HATES this, said she thinks it's unnecessary, but I look at it as a great precaution in case the guy behind me isn't paying enough attention to the road conditions. Maybe it's something to consider as a safe practice. Also, if there is no one behind me and I'm the last car in the stopped lane, I ALWAYS am keeping an eye behind me just in case I need to get out of the way. So sad for these three innocent people. I hope this truck driver is a little kinder and cooperates with the detectives, unlike another accident a few months back (God bless our Marines). Trucks are very necessary, but can definately turn into killling machines if they aren't paying attention.

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16CassAnn(252 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

From the amount of damage on the front end of the semi, it is very obvious that the semi driver was not paying attention and hit the SUV at a high rate of speed. Most seasoned truck drivers run with a CB radio running even if the sound is turned down on low and will turn it up when approaching construction because they realize the cb radio is suddenly getting busy with talk- which is always other truck drivers warning fellow drivers that a backup is ahead. It makes me wonder if the driver that hit them was talking on his cell phone or doing something similarly stupid that he was unaware traffic was stopped ahead of him.

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17Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Inattention is the biggest factor of all accidents . Since this fellow didn't swerve to avoid impact I would say that he didn't realize what was going on until impact . If he consumed alcohol or drugs on a regular basis then he would have had neurological issues also .

ALCOHOL SALES SHOULD BE OUTLAWED AT OR NEAR TRUCK STOPS . THIS IS A NO BRAINER .

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18LauraS(1 comment)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

This was a very unfortunate accident. Im sure this trucker didnt set out to kill 3 people, thats why they are called accidents. There are far to many negative comments about truckers, you all dont realized how much the people in the cars put their lives in danger weaving in front of truckers and driving in the passing lane beside them when they cant see you. Give the trucker a break, he has to live with this the rest of his life.

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19walter_sobchak(1747 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Nunya,
Thanks for the haiku. I love when people throw around twenty-five cent words, in faux poetic verse, to confuse others into believing they are wiser than they actually are.

First, it is obvious that there was an inattentive truck driver here and it is a tragedy. The political infusion comes about by Little Timmy Ryan himself telling people that if not for the $20M from the slush fund, the V&M project would not be moving forward. It is Ryan beating his chest, telling us how wonderful he is.

As for my brand of republican govt, it is very simple. If the govt is going to tax my fuel, tires, and license plates, I want the money returned to this area. Jim Traficant rightfully used to argue that point in DC that every state should get a minimum of 85% of its tax dollars back. The paving on I-80, as with all interstates, is done on a schedule. But, improvement projects are done on a political basis. I know since I worked in the road and bridge design field for a number of years.

The widening of I-80 has been talked about for quite a number of years, well before George W. Bush was in office. The I-80 bridge over the Mahoning River was widened to three lanes in 1994 if I am not mistaken. If there were more lanes, traffic would need less diversion, and conditions would be inherently safer. However, speed kills and everyone must slow down and be more attentive in active construction areas.

See how that ACTUALLY WORKS Nunya?

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20CandyfromCanfield(172 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

picturethis: a very good idea...thanks! Will do this in the future. And I completely agree with your post.

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21CassAnn(252 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

LauraS- There is NO excuse for what happened yesterday and I do not feel sorry for the truck driver at all. When you learn to drive a semi you not only learn to drive your own truck, but learn to compensate for every stupid car driver around you. That truck driver had additional schooling and training to try and prevent accidents like that from happening. It is very obvious from the accident scene that he hadn't been paying attention for a while- he hit that car at a high rate of speed. I have been driving semi's for years so im not bashing truck drivers in general- I am commenting on a bad driver who cost 3 people their lives.

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22wendyfrostsdaughter(1 comment)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

lauraS.
the vehicle that my aunt, uncle and mother were in were at a complete stop when Eugene White killed them, not weaving in and out of traffic. we all have to "live with this" the rest of our lives. he was completely at fault, and I do agree that he may not have set out in the morning to kill 3 people, but the undeniable end result is that he did.

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23orchardinc(1 comment)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

I drive that strecth on a regular basis. The signs are in place but everyone knows there is no one enforcing the speed limits in that area. The truck traffic is ridiculous. I dont feel bad for the truck driver at all. Quite frankly, when something like this happens in a construction zone, it should be mandatory jail time. The warnings were in place but they were willfully ignored. Truck drivers need to realize that when they make the smallest of mistakes, the results can be fatal.

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