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Truck driver dies in accident

August 18, 2012
By KATIE SCHWENDEMAN - Staff Writer ( , Morning Journal News

AUSTINTOWN - An early-morning accident on state Route 11 has left a Youngstown man dead.

According to the Ohio Highway Patrol report, Roger Watkins, 55, of Edgehill Avenue, was southbound on state Route 11 in a 1998 Mack semi truck when he lost control and went off the right side of the road, just south of Mahoning Avenue, shortly before 5 a.m.

The semi hit a tree, a fence and then a bridge overhead structure head-on, according to the report.

R&L Carriers, which operates a Columbiana terminal, was listed as the owner of the semi.

The Canfield Post of the patrol is investigating the crash, and it is unclear at this time what caused Watkins to go off the road, although a contributing circumstance was listed as failure to control, according to the report.

The report also indicated he was wearing a seat belt and was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is unclear how fast the truck was traveling at the time of the accident. The posted speed limit in that area is 55 miles per hour.

The Mahoning County Coroner was called to the scene minutes after the accident was first reported, and an Ohio Department of Transportation inspector was called to investigate the severity of the damage to the bridge. The patrol report indicated a concrete barrier near the bridge was pushed a few feet into the roadway as a result of the crash and concrete from the bridge broke away and fell into the road.

The southbound lane was shut down to traffic temporarily but later re-opened.

R&L Carriers was contacted and sent some employees to the scene to determine how to move the truck. They requested Ed Geary's towing, according to the report.

The Environmental Protection Agency was also notified that fuel was spilled on the road.

According to a traffic history available with the report, Watkins had three prior accidents, beginning in 2003. The accidents occurred in Wyandot County, Summit County and Mahoning County, and only one resulted in injuries. In all three instances, Watkins was driving a commercial vehicle.

Watkins also had 12 minor traffic violations and at least two OVI convictions, although both those convictions occurred more than 30 years ago. His most recent traffic violation was one count of speeding in 2010.



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