Truck crash yields chaos on Ohio 7 in Martins Ferry

TWO PEOPLE were seriously injured in a horrendous two-vehicle, rear-end accident in the northbound lanes of Ohio 7 early Monday morning that backed up traffic in both directions, and caused major headaches for drivers traveling through Martins Ferry.

The accident, involving a tractor trailer and rented Penske box truck, occurred shortly after 9 a.m. approximately 200 yards south of the Hanover Street interchange.

The driver and passenger, both unidentified, in the Penske truck had to be extricated from the wreckage by the Jaws of Life. The driver, a male subject, was taken from the crash first and loaded into a Stat MedEvac helicopter, one of two which landed on the roadway. He was flown to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

He was listed in stable condition late Monday night with undisclosed injuries.

It took emergency personnel nearly another hour before they could free the passenger, a 10-year-old girl, who was trapped between the dashboard and the seat. A hole had to be cut in the back of the Penske truck cab so that the injured female could be taken out the back of the box truck.

According to Sgt. James Faunda, of the Ohio Highway Patrol, the girl suffered life-threatening injuries. She was immediately flown to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh.

According to authorities on the scene, both individuals were from the Pittsburgh area and were in the process of moving to the Steubenville area. The Penske truck was loaded with the family’s belongings, which most of had to be taken from the truck so the injured girl could be removed.

A female, presumably the girl’s mother and companion of the driver, traveling behind the Penske truck was visibly shaken at the scene. Her vehicle had Pennsylvania license plates. She was directed to drive to the Pittsburgh hospitals and await her loved ones.

“We have conflicting reports on what occurred,” Sgt. Faunda reported. “The truck driver said he was coasting to the red light when he heard a thud and looked into his mirror. He said he saw the truck crunched into the back of his.

“The other version came from a female, who is a relative of the injured,” Faunda continued. “She said the semi sped up and got into the left lane, then back into the right in front of the other truck.

“Right now we are trying to sort things out,” Faunda added.

According to Faunda, the patrol’s accident reconstruction team was called, but were unable to make it.

“We have troopers marking different sites with paint,” Faunda said. “Should the girl not make it, then they will come back and do the reconstruction.”

According to the semi driver, Rick Daniels of Wisconsin, he and his young son were hauling 44,000 pounds of fertilizer that was to be delivered to Turf Care Supply, a Martins Ferry-based business along the Ohio River.

“I had just let off of my accelerator and was coasting to the red light about to turn right,” Daniels said. “Then all of a sudden my truck lurched forward. I’m loaded with 44,000 pounds of fertilizer. That truck wouldn’t budge, but it did. He hit me hard… there was nothing I could do. I looked in my mirror and saw the truck into my backend.”

Following the rear-end collision, the semi drug the box truck some 150 yards until it came to a stop. Both vehicles were leaking fluids all over the roadway and had to be towed from the scene.

Responding to the crash were units from the Martins Ferry and Bridgeport police departments; several Martins Ferry Fire Department units, as well as off-duty personnel; the Bridgeport, Brookside and Neffs volunteer fire departments, along with EMS squads from Bridgeport, Brookside and Martins Ferry.

While crews worked to clean up the debris, both lanes of Ohio were closed. Traffic from the north was either re-routed off at North Fifth Street or up Hanover Street to Zane Highway and through the Purple City, while traffic from the south was re-routed through town at Aetnaville.

Once the southbound lanes were cleared of emergency vehicles, the righthand lane was used for southbound traffic, while the lefthand lane was utilized for northbound traffic.

Tow trucks from Naylors and Bill’s were on hand to assist.

Stay tuned to The Times Leader for more details.

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