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‘I’ll take the back roads’

Published: Fri, July 6, 2012 @ 12:10 a.m.





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.


1Thunderboom(67 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Some personal observations. Nine years ago I retired from over the road driving after nearly 40yrs.Over 2 million accident free miles, won every award any company I worked for offered. When I started we were called "Knights of the Road". As time progressed I watched this profession deteriorate to where it is today. If the public really knew what is behind the wheel of most of these 80,000lb beasts, NOBODY would drive the Interstates. Many of the trucking companies are desperate for drivers. Why? They can't keep them. Unless you are fortunate to work for a Union company (Teamsters) you end up working for minimum wage. This Sunday read Vindi help wanted ads for drivers. They promise "great pay & benefits". What they don't tell you is that you will work 70hrs a week, 12-14hrs a day. Overtime? Yeah right. There is a policy trucking companies seem to have adopted called "Acceptable Loss". If they can get a certain number of trucks through, they don't have a problem with an occasional fatality accident, unofficially of course. Pray you or your family members don't become one of these stats. "Regulatory Agencies" to protect you? A joke. I NEVER saw a log book I couldn't fudge, or a regulation I wasn't able to manipulate. Now more and more of these companies are putting in automatic transmissions, because they can't find drivers smart enough to shift. Don't believe me, just look at this past week. Flatbed overturned closing route 7&62 in Hubbard Twp, a fatality on Tibbetts Wick Rd. in Liberty Twp, this fatality, on and on. It seems every day we hear locally there is some stretch of interstate hwy or local route closed due to a truck accident. Bottom line, the government agencies charged with protecting you, are run by the trucking companies they are supposed to regulate. To note, my son and my brother are OTR drivers (both Teamsters), as a retired Teamster I worry and Pray for their safety, as I do for all of you.

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2RoadGlideUltra(3 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Bob Lucarell was a friend of mine, a kind and wonderful family man, husband and father. This man survived Vietnam and was the last man standing at Avanti (Check the Vindicator archives). A shame that he passed from this life in this manner on his way to work. Oh yes, he was a great coworker too, and nearing retirement.

The stretch of I-80 from the I-80, Rt 11 and 680 split is just horrible. I have driven safely all over the world in situations that are simply beyond belief, but even I avoid this section of I-80 as it passes over Rt 422 in Girard. I-80 should be three lanes in both directions from the turnpike, which is already three lanes, and until the rat race spreads out a bit in Pa.

I will miss my friend and my deepest condolences go out to his family in this time of loss.

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3magnolia(27 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Why did the semi driver cross the median? What was he doing? I agree with those who avoid this road. There are too many semis on the road and most seem to be careless. We were on a trip to Virginia when my kids were little and sandwiched between 2 semis. The one behind wanted us to move over and kept coming up real close and backing off and even tried to ram us. We were boxed in with cars on either side and couldn't move. I was so scared. My husband was driving and I called the Virginia State Police and reported the driver. The police came right away because I was giving mile marker locations as we drove by them. 3 state trooper vehicles appeared and the driver got off the freeway at the exit. I don't know if he was caught, but he definitely should never have been driving. I think they should all have to take psych evals in addition to skills tests, before driving over the road. My prayers are with Mr. Lucarell and his family.

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4lumper(281 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

why is it taking so long to repair the bridges on i-80 at 422 and belmont ave. it didn't take that long to build them new !!!

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5AtownAugie(697 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

@ Thunderboom: you must have missed the news yesterday, during which it was said the semi had a tire blow-out, causing loss of control. Or maybe you would argue the driver's company intentionally put on defective tires....

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6kensgirl(605 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Many of the bridges and freeway systems were built arounf WWII. They are now crumbling. They've needed replaced for years but we just put a band aid on them and pray for eveyone's safety. I don't think money is the issue. I know revamping the system will cost millions but if this will save many lives most of us would fork over the tax. I recently read where a lot of the problem is they can't find enough engineers to build these things. The Unites States is falling behind in Science and Math which means fewer engineers etc. I just hope the problem gets solved. I and my family almost lost our lives last winter when a semi came into our lane. It would have landed on top of us had he not swerved and went off the other side of the road and landed on his side. The driver was an idot. I am so sad to hear of the other driver's death. What a loss for everyone.

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7RoadGlideUltra(3 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago


The paving is actually done westbound, but it seems as if that stretch of road is continually torn up - seemingly every summer. I ride a - guess what - a Road Glide Ultra and many paving projects are hazardous to motorcyclists. But that section of 80 is especially perilous.

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8DwightK(1256 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

What Thunderboom said about OTR drivers is correct. Too many drivers speed, approach exit and entrance ramps too quickly and are distracted in the cab. They need more training and they need to be mentored once they are hired. Too many of these accidents are occurring on ramps and curves or crossing the median. This is just inexperience and distracted driving by drivers who are in control of 80,000 pounds.

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9walter_sobchak(1910 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

The interstate System was signed into law by Ike in 1956, not at WWII. The problem is not a lack of engineers. It is poorly conceived highways due to insufficient technology in the '50's and 60's. The major problem with the I-80/SR11 road is that there are two full lanes of traffic from I-80 and at least one lane from SR11 combining into only two lanes. It is further complicated by the use of leftside exits on the highway, which are abhorrent. This forces slower traffic into the passing lane to make an exit. The stretch of highway from SR46 to Belmont Ave. needs to be at least three lanes. Then, a high-strength steel cable barrier needs installed in the median as they did on I-71 and I-76. Such a barrier may have prevented yesterday's tragedy or at least minimized the speed involved. The state and ODOT continue to pour money into the highways in the three C's and Y-town gets the shaft.

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10Thunderboom(67 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

AtownAugie, 40yrs OTR NEVER had a steering tire blow. Part of the pre-trip inspection, a drivers responsibility. PS For the last 6yrs I driven a school bus locally. Huge responsibility.

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11sjestings(2 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

My Husband was OTR for many years and he was a trainer. At one point he had to stop training because he got to the point where he just couldn't trust the people they were giving him to train. According to him they were often irresponsible and did not seem to care for the safety of the other drivers on the road. My Husband says at one time truckers were the safest drivers on the road but they no longer are. Just n the past couple of months my husband was almost forced off the road by a truck driver and I was nearly hit at an intersection by a trucker who failed to stop at a stop sign.

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12YSU_Alumna(37 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

My sincerest sympathies to Bob's family and friends. We were raised in the same wonderful neighborhood, and, yes, something should be done to prevent further accidents but it is a shame that I see so many "I, I, I" and me, me me comments. Bob lived an honorable life and my prayers go out to him and all those he left too soon. May all your memories bring you smiles and laughter.

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13Thunderboom(67 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

YSU_Alumna Yeah like you I too knew Bob, and probably know you. He went to school with my younger brother, the one mentioned in my comment. I too mourn his passing, and send condolences to his family. The point I was trying to make is how many more will become a statistic before the powers that be get off their butts and do their jobs. That stretch of I80 between Belmont ave and the 11S split has a disproportionate number of accidents. People drive like maniacs through there. Why it is not better patroled is a question to yet be answered. Unfortunatley I fear Bob will not be anywhere near the last victim. Now I hear of another truck accident on I680 this day.

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14kensgirl(605 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Hey Walter - Who designed the highway system -Engineers!

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15jas7478(3 comments)posted 2 years ago

This article is about my father, Robert Lucarell. Please correct your article, he was in fact wearing a seatbelt and you can confirm that with the state highway patrol. I hope you do the right thing, Pacholski had no business being on the road. Its a sick world where one can commit murder and still enjoy his family.

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