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Published: Monday, 3/4/2013

I-75 North reopens after SUV and ODOT truck collision

BLADE STAFF
An SUV hit an Ohio Department of Transportation truck today on I-75 northbound near Bancroft in Toledo. An SUV hit an Ohio Department of Transportation truck today on I-75 northbound near Bancroft in Toledo.
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The Ohio Department of Transportation has reopened northbound I-75.

Lanes had been closed for about three and a half hours in central Toledo during the evening rush hour after a sport-utility vehicle hit an Ohio Department of Transportation maintenance truck.

Two ODOT workers who were outside the truck today picking up debris were not seriously injured, but the SUV driver's condition was believed to be grave.

One of the state employees was grazed in the arm by the SUV as it hit the ODOT truck, which was stopped on the shoulder at the Bancroft Street exit, according to Mike Leach, a transportation manager who went to the scene after the crash.

That employee was sent to a hospital for precautionary evaluation, Mr. Leach said. The other worker was not injured, he said.

Official information about the SUV driver was not immediately available, but Mr. Leach said his crew told him the driver was seriously injured.

The two-person crew had pulled over to pick up a tarp that was on the side of the road when their vehicle, a small dump truck, was hit at about 4 p.m.

The unoccupied truck was pushed 35 to 40 feet by the impact and swung about 45 degrees. Its dump bed penetrated the SUV's cabin, with the rear of it pushing back to the rear seat on the passenger side.

The driver's side was relatively intact. The wreckage ended up directly beneath the Bancroft overpass, with fluid spilling across the freeway and debris scattered around it and up to 20 yards forward.

Todd Audet, ODOT's district deputy director in Bowling Green, said he heard about the crash on his way back to the Toledo area from a meeting in Columbus, and immediately worried that it might resemble a collision on I-475 in 2011 during which several pedestrians at a crash scene were hit by a tractor-trailer that struck that incident's wreckage.

He said he was relieved to learn that the transportation department employees were safe.



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