Pennsylvania man seriously injured in I-76 crash
One lane has reopened nearly three hours after an accident involving two trucks shut down a portion of Interstate 76 in Milton Township early Thursday.
State troopers tell 21 News that a box truck rear-ended a tractor-trailer just before 7 a.m. near the Route 534 interchange.
Brian Johnson, Age 58, of Connellsville, Pennsylvania, who was driving the box truck, received serious injuries and was taken to Mercy Health - St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital. He is listed in stable condition.
OSP attributes the crash to failure to maintain an assured clear distance, but as the investigation continues, law enforcement isn't completely sure other factors weren't at play.
"Clearly, there was some sort of distraction or else he would've seen traffic stop and he would've been able to stop," said Lieutenant Brad Bucey of Ohio State Highway Patrol's Canfield post. "We didn't observe any braking or anything, so he ran into him at, at least the speed limit," he said.
Chouafa Xiong, age 37 was driving the tractor and his 4-year-old was in the sleeper berth. The father and daughter, both from Sacramento, California, received minor injuries and were not taken to a hospital.
Troopers say that when the crash occurred, westbound traffic had already been backed up due to a truck fire further west in Portage County.
Westbound I-76 traffic was diverted through the ramp to Route 534 until just after 9:30 a.m. when the left lane opened.
Law enforcement wants to send the message to motorists to stay alert behind the wheel.
"Make sure that people pay attention while driving at all times," said Bucey. "Obviously, it doesn't have to just be a cell phone, it could be looking at the radio or the heat or anything like that. Make sure that you're focused on the task at hand," he said.