Semi truck wreck on highway 129 curve is county’s fifth this year

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In what is becoming common place here in Switzerland County, a semi truck carrying rolls of stainless steel failed to negotiate a curve on State Road 129, resulting in the truck overturning and the steel falling off of the truck on Tuesday.

Switzerland County dispatch received a call at approximately 10:38 a.m. on Tuesday morning informing them of the accident on highway 129 just north of Long Run Road. The portion of the roadway has come under fire recently, as the semi truck accident is the fifth in the past year at that same area of the highway.

The truck, which is owned by PI+I Motor Express, Inc., of Masury, Ohio, was driven by Seng Kreal of West Chester, Ohio. The truck was going north on highway 129 carrying a load of stainless steel from North American Stainless; and the accident occurred just south of the Jack Ranz residence.

“Indications show that as he was going around the curve, the load shifted, possibly due to speed, causing him to lose control of the trailer,” Switzerland County deputy John Mills, who was investigating the accident, stated. “The driver told me that he tried to correct, but when he turned the wheel to the left, that – in combination with the load shifting and speed, caused the trailer to overturn.”

The accident also caused damage to the roadway itself, and left the truck lying upside down on the east side of the roadway, with debris scattered all over the area and the three rolls of stainless steel lying in the ditch.

“We were unable to determine if he had the right amount of chains holding his load down because of all of the damage,” Deputy Mills said.

John Mills also said that Seng Kreal also told him that he thought his tire blew out as he went around the curve, but an inspection of the tires by the deputy found no flats; and officials from the Department of Transportation and the Indiana State Police also came to the scene to inspect the truck, and found no problems with the brakes or other aspects of the semi.

Seng Kreal complained of pain at the scene, and was transported to the King’s Daughters’ Hospital to be checked out. Officer Mills said that he was later released with no serious injuries.

Deputy Mills said that the Department of Transportation had issued a citation to the driver for losing his cargo; and the investigation is continuing by the Switzerland County Sheriff’s Department.

No additional charges are pending at this time.

State Road 129 was closed down for approximately four hours after the accident, and breaks in the pavement and chunks of the roadway that were torn out by the accident will need to be repaired.

Assisting Deputy Mills at the scene were members of Jeff-Craig Fire and Rescue, who were called because of fuel leakage from the truck; Switzerland County EMS; Indiana State Police and Department of Transportation officials; and members of the Vevay Police Department assisted by rerouting traffic at the intersection of State Roads 129 and 56.

After the last semi truck accident, the Indiana Department placed curve signs at the location at the urging of the Switzerland County Commissioners; but the combination of the severity of the curve in the roadway and the need for semi truck drivers to get sufficient speed in order to make it to the top of the hill appear to be making that stretch of highway a dangerous one.

– Pat Lanman