WHEELING, WV – An early morning truck accident in Ohio County, West Virginia left one person dead and the truck driver facing charges. The fatal accident happened Tuesday morning, April 13, 2010, on Interstate 470 when a truck lost two of its wheels near Wheeling, West Virginia. The accident area is in the far northwest corner of the state between the borders of Ohio and Pennsylvania, 127 miles east of Columbus, OH and 59 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, PA.
Shortly after 1:00 a.m. Tuesday morning truck driver Robert Mancini, 54 years old, of Mount Olive, Illinois was headed eastbound on Interstate 470. He was driving a semi trailer truck owned by Sievers Truck Services, based in Staunton, IL.
As the semi tractor truck drove over the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial Bridge near Wheeling it lost a set of its dual wheels from its trailer section.
The wheels that fell off the trailer truck bounced over into the westbound lanes of I-470, where they slammed into an Oldsmobile Cutlass driven by 54 year old John Ruskowski of Sunnyside, WV. The impact of the truck wheels completely crushed the driver’s side of the passenger car.
A Wheeling Police officer was the first responder at the truck accident scene and tried to save the car driver by smashing the back rear window of the car, but he apparently was unable to reach the victim.
The Wheeling Fire Department responded to the site of the truck accident and worked to extricate the driver from the mangled car. Mr. Ruskowski suffered fatal injuries in the truck accident and was pronounced dead at the scene.
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Authorities investigating the scene of the truck accident retrieved various parts that had broken off the trailer truck. They found the truck’s tires about one hundred yards east of the accident site and the bearings of the truck were found a few hundred feet to the west.
The truck driver apparently did not realize he had lost tires and continued to drive east on the interstate. However, as the truck was going up a hill on the interstate near Bethlehem, WV the driver noticed smoke coming from the trailer section of the 18 wheeler. He pulled his semi trailer truck over at the Bethlehem exit to check out the rig, and was approached and questioned by an Ohio County Sheriff trooper. The truck driver reportedly provided a written statement to the officer.
The West Virginia State Public Service Commission conducted an inspection of the semi trailer after the truck accident and found several equipment violations. They also found that there was no grease on the area where the tires fell off, which is required, and that may have been a factor in the bizarre truck accident.
At this time several charges have been brought against the truck driver for Equipment Violations. Additional charges may be brought at the conclusion of the truck accident investigation.
Gordon Elias & Seely, LLP recommend that if you know anyone who has been injured or killed as the result of a commercial truck accident involving a semi truck, 18 wheeler, big rig, tractor trailer, dump truck or bus, tell them to immediately contact a qualified truck accident lawyer for advice. It is imperative to do this as soon as possible to ensure that evidence is preserved. For more information about Minnesota trucking laws, truck injury causes and victims rights, contact expert nationwide truck accident attorneys Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP. For a free initial consultation, talk to a WVA truck accident lawyer at 800.773.6770.