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Semi smashes into apartment building in Monclova Township

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A semi is wedged into an apartment building on Maumee Western Road after swerving off to avoid collision with a car pulling out from a stop sign on Eber Road in Monclova Township, Ohio.

The Blade/Jetta Fraser
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One person was seriously injured and another had a close call when a two-vehicle accident at a Monclova Township intersection caused a tractor-trailer rig to crash into an apartment building Thursday morning.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol reported the semi rig smashed into the Monclova Rentals building on Maumee Western Road/U.S. 20 near Eber Road about 5:40 a.m. after it collided with a car that ran a stop sign. The tractor-trailer crashed into the apartment building, causing a resident inside to be covered with debris, authorities reported.

“I was sleeping. Next thing I know a bunch of debris is coming down on me pinning my leg,” said ground floor apartment resident Vernon Helton, 53. Mr. Helton said he was bewildered when neighbors and firefighters pulled him out to safety.

Mr. Helton got away with just a scratch on his left forearm, and he was treated on the scene by emergency medical technicians. According to the Ohio Highway Patrol, the driver of the car, 57-year-old Frank D. Billings Jr. of Whitehouse, was flown by helicopter to the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio hospital. Troopers said he was conscious and talking, though the patrol said his injuries were serious.

Troopers at the scene said Mr. Billings’ car was southbound on Eber when he apparently pulled out from a stop sign on Eber into the path of the eastbound semi on Maumee Western. The tractor-trailer hit Mr. Billings’s car and went off the right side of the road into the apartment.

As of 9 a.m. crews had removed the semi from where it had been wedged into the building. The patrol said the apartments were evacuated because of structural damage concerns while the vehicle was removed.

Monica Kirby, 21, a neighbor, who lives right above Mr. Helton’s apartment, said she woke up to “a big booming sound, like an earthquake.”

“I then thought it maybe was a tree into the house,” Ms. Kirby said. “I ran out of my door and saw a big semi through the building. I have a 19-month-old daughter. She was in bed with me sleeping. I was scared for my family and my neighbors.”

Ms. Kirby said that finance’s step-father, Bryant Royster, 37, other neighbors, and the firefighters pulled Mr. Helton to safety.

The tractor-trailer driver, Dale A. Doxsee, 50, of Temperance, Mich., was treated for minor injuries at the scene. Witnesses said he climbed out of his cab unassisted.

The crash also knocked out power to some residents. The patrol said Toledo Edison crews were on the scene working to replace a knocked-down utility pole and restore electric service.

The patrol did not know if Mr. Billings or Mr. Doxsee were wearing seat belts.

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