Truck Driver Strikes Ambulance Then Dies in Cab Fireby Jana Ritter - Published: 9/28/2015
Another tragedy claimed another truck driver’s life over the weekend when his semi-truck crashed into an ambulance that was stopped at another crash site. The incident occurred just after 11am on Sunday in Ohio along U.S. 30, just west of Laver Road. A Mifflin Township Fire Department vehicle had been stopped along the westbound left lane with its overhead lights on, when the semi came along and struck it from behind. The impact then caused the semi-truck to veer across the right lane and into the woods, before it erupted into flames. Tragically, the truck driver died at the scene and has been identified as 52-year-old Anthony A. Fuerst, 52, of Columbus Grove.
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Ray Scott of the Mifflin Police Department happened to be driving behind the semi and was on his way to respond to the initial incident of a single-vehicle van roll over. He said he saw the truck hit the rear corner of the ambulance and then continue across the right lane before it crashed into the woods. Unfortunately the fire started in the cab of the truck and Scott and another driver quickly ran to the crash site and tried to rescue the truck driver from the deadly inferno. "We tried several attempts but failed to do so due to the heat and the flames. Then his gas tank exploded and we had to get back," Scott said. By the time firefighters arrived at the scene and extinguished the blaze, the truck was scorched and the truck driver was already dead when they were finally able to pull him from the wreckage. The Ohio Highway Patrol later identified the truck driver based on evidence at the scene and information from his employer. The two emergency responders who had been with the ambulance when it was hit were taken to a nearby hospital but are expected to survive the incident.
Richard Daugherty is a nearby resident and a former truck driver who actually heard the initial single vehicle crash from his home, and had ran to the scene to see if everyone was okay. He said that his adrenaline was already pumping and he had been talking to the emergency responders when the far worse crash occurred right in front of him. Having driven semis himself for many years, he said he knows how hard it is to control thousands of pounds of rolling truck. "It's very hard because all the weight that you've got behind you is shifting," Daugherty said. Clinton Hardy also witnessed the crash and said from what he could see the truck just lost control and traveled about 300 yards and then barreled into the woods. "Black smoke going up in the sky. Flames higher than the trees. Just rolling smoke," Hardy said.
While the accident is still under investigation, it is likely that the truck driver did not have enough time to respond when he noticed he had suddenly come upon the ambulance sitting out in the left lane.