Truck overturns on Route 11, driver’s injuries minor

LISBON – A Ravenna man escaped serious injury Friday when the semi truck he was driving overturned on state Route 11.

Sgt. Craig Monte of the Highway Patrol said Jeremy L. Abels, 41, was driving for NAJ Trucking of Twinsburgh and taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital by KLG Ambulance for non-life-threatening injuries.

Trooper Eric Derrington said witnesses told them the semi was in the right lane of state Route 11 south when it went off the right edge and the trailer struck the guardrail and overturned, dragging the guardrail into the roadway where the semi then slid about 180 degrees on its side and went across the left lane into the grassy median.

A Steve’s Towing employee who happened to be driving on state Route 11 and witnessed the crash around 4 p.m. stopped to help Abels get out of the truck, and he was transported to the hospital before troopers had a chance to interview him, Derrington said.

Abels was attempting to get out of the cab on his own when Steve’s Towing stopped to assist, he added.

Witnesses also said the semi appeared to be driving normally moments before it veered to the right, and Derrington said that until they interview Abels, they do not know what caused the accident.

No other vehicles were involved. The semi was overturned on the passenger side several yards from the original point of contact with the guardrail and the front windshield was smashed. The trailer appeared to have no extensive damage and, according to the patrol, contained powder concrete.

Monte said HAZMAT was not called to the scene. The West Point and Lisbon fire departments did respond, as did the Ohio Department of Transportation and Geary’s Towing.

ODOT employees were using a chainsaw to cut the guardrail into smaller pieces for removal from the roadway about an hour after the crash occurred. Traffic continued slowly along one of the southbound lanes while the patrol and fire officials investigated.

Abels has not been charged, and the crash remains under investigation.