Driver Freed From Wrecked Rig
A tractor-trailer accident early on the morning of May 24 in the small Fulton County village of New Grenada in Wells Township tested the skills of rescue and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel from three area volunteer fire companies. The accident occurred about three miles from the Huntingdon-Fulton county line and was investigated by state police from the Mc- Connellsburg station.
Firefighters and EMS personnel from the Hustontown Area Volunteer Fire Co. were initially dispatched to the call that occurred at 7:15 a.m. along Route 913. The Robertsdale, Wood & Broad Top (RW&BT) and Three Springs volunteer fire companies were dispatched a short time later to assist at the scene and to establish a landing zone for a STAT MedEvac helicopter at a site close to the accident scene.
According to a witness who followed the Mack tractor and flatbed trailer down Robertsdale Mountain, the driver who was traveling east on Route 913, encountered trouble with his brakes, which then began heavily smoking. The truck, according to the witness, gained speed as it descended the mountain grade.
The driver, identified as Todd Leu, 42, Wauseon, Ohio, reached the bottom of the mountain where a curve and a small bridge are located along Route 913. Leu lost control of the rig in the curve and struck a utility pole. The tractor rolled onto its side and the load of steel coil he was hauling shifted and freed itself from the trailer.
Once emergency services personnel arrived on scene, a tow truck from Tinman’s Body Shop, located near the accident scene, secured the tractor in order that emergency personnel could safely begin to extricate the victim from the wreckage. A large truck equipped with a boom owned by the New Enterprise Rural Electric Cooperative Inc. also assisted in helping to lift the tractor so extrication could be made.
New Enterprise Rural Electric Cooperative employees were also on hand to deal with the issue of the downed utility pole and lines. A new pole and the restoration of the lines were somewhat complete when the rig was rolled upright, and prepared for removal by two large tow trucks brought to the scene by Fischer’s Towing of Crystal Springs.
During the extrication process, emergency personnel used assorted rescue tools both large and small, including two sets of Jaws of Life rescue tools. Leu was finally freed from the wreckage at 9:25 a.m. and was transported by Hustontown Ambulance to the landing zone and flown to the Altoona Regional Health System Trauma Center for treatment of unspecified injuries.
According to identification marks on the tractor, it is owned by WJR Trucking, Inc. of Perrysburg, Ohio. Information on the company’s Web site states it transports general freight, machinery, lumber, metal sheet, building materials and oilfield equipment.
Route 913 was closed during the incident and traffic diverted onto Route 994, Hoover Road and the Wells Tannery Road. This area of Route 913 has been the site of several accidents involving tractor and trailers that have resulted in at least four known fatalities.
Six Mile Run and Mount Union volunteers were on standby for RW&BT and Three Springs volunteers during the call. The latter companies returned to quarters shortly before 11 a.m.