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Published: Tuesday, 6/9/2009

Truck driver killed in crash on turnpike near Swanton

Updated story:


SWANTON A Wisconsin tractor-trailer driver was pronounced dead after his rig crashed and burned on the Ohio Turnpike near Swanton and the toll road was closed for hours.

Andrew C. Dietzen, 60, of Appleton, Wis., was driving east with a load of bottled margarita mix, when the semi went off the right side of the road at about 7:38 p.m., according to the Ohio Highway Patrol s Swanton post.

The truck hit the guardrail and then the bridge abutment and turned onto its right side where it burst into flames, the patrol said.

Mr. Dietzen was pronounced dead at the scene by Fulton County Coroner Harry Murtiff.

One of the turnpike s eastbound lanes opened before sunrise Tuesday morning while the other remains closed pending cleanup of the wreckage, according to the Ohio Highway Patrol's turnpike headquarters in Berea.

The toll road s westbound lanes were closed for about an hour during the firefighting effort.

Stephanie Garee, an East Toledo resident who was driving on Route 64 when she heard the truck screeching along the guardrail above her, said the rig erupted into flames almost immediately.

It was like boom, flash, it was up [on fire], agreed her daughter Ambrosia McKeen, who was riding with her.

Some of the Swift Transportation Corp. semi s load spilled over the side of the bridge, but none of the burning debris landed on Route 64.

Eastbound turnpike traffic was detoured at State Rt. 109, near Delta, until the bridge could be assessed.

A detour was posted via U.S. 20A/State Rt. 2 to the turnpike entrance at Toledo Express Airport.

The story as it appeared in earlier editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com:

SWANTON - A tractor-trailer driver was killed when his rig crashed and burned on the Ohio Turnpike here Monday evening.

The turnpike's eastbound lanes were closed indefinitely pending an inspection of a bridge over State Rt. 64 upon which the crash occurred.

The male driver was not immediately identified, and it was unknown whether any passengers were in the cab when the rig crashed into the guardrail along the eastbound right shoulder, then struck the end of the bridge's parapet wall and overturned.

The crash was reported at 7:37 p.m., and flames quickly consumed the truck's cab and part of its load of bottled margarita mix.

The toll road's westbound lanes were closed for about an hour during the firefighting effort.

No estimate was given as to when the eastbound side might reopen.

Stephanie Garee, an East Toledo resident who was driving on Route 64 when she heard the truck "screeching" along the guardrail above her, said the rig erupted into flames almost immediately.

"It was like boom, flash, it was up [on fire]," agreed her daughter Ambrosia McKeen, who was riding with her.

Some of the Swift Transportation Corp. semi's load spilled over the side of the bridge, but none of the burning debris landed on Route 64.

Eastbound turnpike traffic was detoured at State Rt. 109, near Delta, until the bridge could be assessed and, if necessary, repaired.

A detour was posted via U.S. 20A/State Rt. 2 to the turnpike entrance at Toledo Express Airport.



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