A tractor-trailer driver whose truck overturned at the Interstate 70/77 interchange in Guernsey County blocking a portion of westbound I-70 for more than five hours Thursday was treated at Southeastern Med for minor injuries.
Abera Tilahun, 56, of Texas, was transported by United Ambulance to the Cambridge hospital where was treated in the emergency department and later released, according to a nursing supervisor.
State Highway Patrol troopers were able to reopen one lane of I-70 approximately an hour after the accident at 1:33 p.m., but the second westbound lane was not reopened until approximately 7 p.m.
According to the highway patrol, Tilahun was driving a 2007 Freightliner and trailer on the ramp from Interstate 77 southbound to westbound I-70 when he failed to negotiate the curve in the roadway. The truck overturned onto its left side and then slid across the ramp and onto I-70 where it came to rest blocking the westbound lanes.
Initial reported indicated Tilahun was trapped inside cab of the Freightliner truck and Cambridge firefighters were dispatched to free him. While firefighters were en route, reports from the scene revealed Tilahun had been freed from the heavily-damaged truck by non-mechanical means.
The truck was hauling bricks in an enclosed trailer. Danny’s Towing was dispatched to remove the truck and trailer from the highway.
Tilahun was the lone occupant of the truck.
Traffic on the interstates was slowed or backed up for hours while motorists were diverted onto other local roadways. A significant amount of traffic was witnessed in downtown Cambridge and Southgate Parkway as drivers tried to avoid the highway.
The one lane of westbound I-70 was reopened at 2:45 p.m.
Ohio Department of Transportation crews and officers from the Byesville and Cambridge police departments assisted with traffic control.
Tilahun was cited for failure to control.
The accident was one of two crashes involving tractor-trailers that was investigated by the patrol’s Cambridge post Thursday afternoon.
At approximately 5:54 p.m., a tractor-trailer driven by Jerry L. Fox, 59, of Alliance, was traveling north on Byesville Road (County Road 35) when it struck the bottom of an Interstate 70 bridge that spans the roadway.
The impact caused extensive damage to the truck’s trailer. Fox was not injured.
Fox was the lone occupant of the truck. He was cited for failure to obey a traffic control device.
No other information regarding either accident was available as of press time.
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