Thursday, June 14, 2001

Truck-car wreck closes I-75


Four slightly injured; thousands of drivers are delayed for hours

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LOCKLAND — A tractor-trailer carrying 27 tons of coal hit a car and jackknifed on Interstate 75 Wednesday morning, spilling some of its load on the car, injuring four people and closing northbound lanes for nearly six hours.

        The subsequent detours snarled traffic for hours on I-75 and in communities for miles around on a day when the temperature hit 88 degrees with a relative humidity as high as 96 percent.

        The semi's driver lost control near the Shepherd Lane exit and collided with a car driven by Charles Dozier, 53, of Fairfield at 10:29 a.m., Lockland police said.

[photo] Lockland fire personnel clean up after the accident in which a coal truck (background) collided with the car in the foreground.
(Michael Snyder photos)
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        Mr. Dozier and his wife, Marquela, 52, were treated at University Hospital for minor injuries. Two children in the same car were treated at Children's Hospital for minor injuries. Their names were not released.

        Police said they were lucky to be alive.

        “The truck went over the front end of the car,” Lockland Police Officer Robert Godbey said. “We were very surprised to find out the minimal amount of injuries.”

        The driver of the truck, whose name has not been released, was cited for failing to maintain reasonable control, police officials said.

        Joyce Coffin of Lockland watched the coal truck slide along northbound I-75.

        “I have never heard such an awful sound. It must have slid hundreds of yards,” said Ms. Coffin, whose home along Forrer Street overlooks the I-75 split in Lockland, where the southbound and northbound lanes of the highway divide. “It was a real mess.”

[photo] Motorists wait it out during Wednesday's midday heat, while the site of the accident is cleaned up.
(Michael Snyder photos)
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        She said the truck driver was uninjured and immediately jumped out of the truck cab to aid motorists.

        “I feel sorry for all those people sitting in their cars in this heat,” Ms. Coffin said.

        Dan Gray of Evendale was forced off the highway and had two hours in crawling traffic along U.S. 42 through Reading to feel sorry for himself.

        “This is the worst backup I've ever seen,” Mr. Gray said as his car idled at the intersection of Columbia Avenue and U.S. 42 in Reading. “I'm trying to get to Evendale, and I was forced off the highway. It took me two hours to get to here.”

        ARTIMIS posted the accident and highway closure on all its electronic road signs to warn drivers throughout the Tristate.

        “When we know the highway is closed and it will be for a long time, we use every sign,” said ARTIMIS Program Manager Scott Evans.

       David Eck and William A. Weathers contributed to this report.
       

       



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