Truck bashes Brilex building, but catastrophe averted
YOUNGSTOWN — It may be difficult to convince anyone to work again in the Brilex Industries basement office near the Madison Avenue Expressway.
A pickup truck came off the eastbound expressway and onto the exit ramp to Crescent Street on the North Side and crashed through the wall about 12:15 p.m. Thursday. The exit ramp is a short distance west of the overpass at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
The front of the truck went across the office and into the back wall, before it came to rest against the back wall. Part of the truck’s bed remained outside the building. The truck also struck a generator on its way into the building.
Below the truck are two desks, where an employee works, but he was not there at the time.
“Thank God nobody got hurt,” one employee said as she watched workers get the gas line to the generator capped and the generator removed so that the truck could be removed.
“It’s a blessing,” said Youngstown Fire Department Battalion Chief John Lightly. No one inside the building was injured. The four people in the truck were able to remove themselves from the truck on their own, Lightly said.
The driver of the truck had a laceration and was taken to nearby St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital for treatment.
Arthur Green of Youngstown, one of the three adults and one toddler in the truck, said the driver Steven Haywood suffered a big cut on his leg.
Green said the truck lost its brakes while on the expressway. The exit ramp the driver took slopes downhill and T-bones into Crescent Street. To make matters worse, the exit ramp curves to the right the entire way down.
Green said the driver “panicked” and veered left at the bottom of the ramp, which carried the truck toward the building.
The truck crossed Crescent Street, hit a fence in front of the building, crashing through it, then hit a large generator, knocking the generator into two cars parked next to it, damaging them. The truck traveled through a part of the wall containing windows for the office.
Lightly credited Brilex personnel for quickly getting the natural gas to the generator turned off and turning off the electricity. Those steps may have prevented the gas from causing an explosion.