OSP: I-70 accident caused by sleeping truck driver

Semi-truck fire on Interstate 70 (Photo WDTN/Jake Ryle
Semi-truck fire on Interstate 70 (Photo WDTN/Jake Ryle)

HARMONY TWP., Ohio (WDTN) – A semi truck burst into flames after striking a parked semi along the westbound lanes of Interstate 70 Tuesday morning.

The crash happened in the westbound lanes in the area of Route 40 around 9:50 a.m.

Ohio State Patrol says the driver of a red Bobcat semi-truck was in his sleeper when a truck struck it from the backside. They say the impact rolled the moving semi into a ditch, catching it on fire.

Members of the Columbus Fire Department were the first on the scene. Coincidentally, the firefighters were on their way to Springfield to pick up a fire truck. Several members of the Columbus Fire Dept. assisted in making sure there were no serious injuries.

Columbus firefighter L.D. Smith says his training helped him in the heat of the moment.

“You’re always expecting the worst when you come up on something,” he added, “We stopped at the first (truck), checked for people in it, and found a person pinned in the back.”

The driver of the parked semi, Dempsey Parker, 56, of Georgia is hospitalized at Miami Valley Hospital.  The other driver, Gurvinder Bajwa, 30, of Wisconsin, was not hurt.

Ohio State Patrol Sergeant Richard Dixon spoke with Bajwa after the accident.

“He stated he was swerving to miss another vehicle,” Dixon said.

But passengers of other cars say otherwise.

“We have some independent witnesses that have said there was no other vehicle involved,” He said.

OSP hasn’t released information on if either, or both, drivers will be cited.


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