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Tractor trailer rams construction truck on I-78; workers 'lucky'

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 03 2012 09:32:59 AM CST
Updated On: Dec 03 2012 04:47:26 PM CST

Three highway construction workers are lucky to be alive after a tractor trailer rammed their construction truck Monday morning.

GREENWICH TWP., Pa. -

Three highway construction workers are lucky to be alive after a tractor trailer rammed their construction truck Monday morning.

The accident happened just before 10 a.m. in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 78 in Greenwich Twp., Berks Co.

The highway was closed at the Lenhartsville interchange (Exit 35) for about three hours, leaving cars and trucks stuck in gridlock traffic for six miles.

The driver of the tractor trailer, Harvey Henry, of Port Clinton, Schuylkill Co., struck the rear of the construction truck, which was parked in the right lane, said police.

The construction crew had its lights on, but police said Henry, 50, didn't see the truck until the last minute.

"I saw it well ahead of time. He wasn't paying attention, and he didn't slow down at all when he saw the flashing lights," said Bob Maestri, who was driving on I-78 at the time of the accident.

"At the last minute he swerved. All the debris was flying, and I don't know if he didn't see it, but it was very visible," said Kris Lloyd, who saw the accident.

One of the workers, Joseph Hall, was thrown to the ground and suffered moderate head and back injuries.

The construction truck was sent 15 feet forward. The tractor trailer slammed into the concrete median, and its cab was heavily damaged by the impact.

"I was very focused on the truck and not hitting the truck or getting hit by the truck and making sure that when the debris went up I didn't get hit by that either," said Maestri.

Hall, 23, of Leesport, was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital near Allentown.

Henry and the two other men who were working with Hall, Derek Brown, 33, and David Yagalla, 32, both of Weatherly, Carbon Co., escaped injury.

Fire police diverted traffic onto Old Route 22 until the highway reopened around 1 p.m.