By DANNY RESTIVO
Mary Carasi of Illiniois Avenue in this city doesn’t plan on taking Interstate 80 to her job in Austintown anymore.
“I will never take the freeway again,” she said. “I’ll take the back roads.”
Carasi’s decision comes after a man was killed along I-80 near U.S. Route 422 on Thursday. The Ohio State Highway Patrol said Richard A. Pacholski, 61, of Asheboro, N.C., was traveling eastbound on I-80 when his tractor-trailer crossed the median into westbound lanes and struck the vehicle of Robert J. Lucarell, 62, of Hubbard.
Lucarell was driving a 2004 Ford Ranger pickup and not wearing a seat belt, according to a highway patrol press release. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Pacholski was wearing a seat belt and taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center, where he was listed in stable condition late Thursday.
The accident closed I-80’s westbound lanes for several hours.
Carasi and several others gathered on the Moser Road bridge over I-80 and watched as emergency crews attended to the scene. Some shared their concern about the fatalities and accidents along the highway.
On Tuesday, the eastbound lane of I-80 near Austintown was closed for a while after a tractor-trailer flipped. The accident resulted in two rear-end crashes. No one was injured.
Though Thursday’s fatal accident may have scared some, Joe and Barbara Pazillo of Ohio Avenue say they have no plans of changing their driving routine. They use I-80 often.
The lifelong Girard residents live minutes from the accident scene. In fact, they were coming home from Cleveland and had used I-80. “Luckily, we choose to get off the highway earlier,” said Barbara Pazillo,
Thursday’s accident is the 17th traffic-related death in Trumbull County this year. It’s the third this week, highway patrol officials said.
On Tuesday, a man was killed after his asphalt truck lost control and flipped on Tibbetts-Wick Road near state Route 11. Another man was killed Monday in Howland Township after he lost control of his vehicle and struck a tree on North Road near Atlantic Street.