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Published: Thursday, 1/29/2004

Accidents shut bridge for hours on State Rt. 2

BAY VIEW, Ohio - The Thomas Edison Bridge, which spans the Sandusky Bay and links Ottawa and Erie counties, was closed for about three hours yesterday after several traffic accidents.

Ohio Highway Patrol troopers said visibility was near zero on the State Rt. 2 bridge at the time when the wrecks occurred.

Only one injury was reported: A woman said she had a dislocated elbow, troopers at the patrol s Sandusky post said.

The first crash occurred at 11:23 a.m. in the westbound lane near the State Rt. 269 exit. Traffic was stopped for several minutes after a tractor-trailer drove into the rear of the idled vehicles.

The wreck occurred as a patrol lieutenant was stopped on the right shoulder, with his vehicle s emergency lights activated to warn approaching drivers.

The semi was driven by Donald Johnson of Macomb, Mich. Troopers said he was traveling at speeds in excess for the conditions and drove directly into the rear of traffic, including two other semis.

After striking the vehicles, then a guardrail, the fuel tank on Mr. Johnson s rig ruptured. The fuel spilled onto the road and moved toward Sandusky Bay. Area fire crews were able to keep the diesel fuel from entering the water.

Mr. Johnson, 24, was cited for reckless operation.

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