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Truck Slams Into House Injuring Woman in Her Bed, Driver Expected to be Cited for Faulty Brakes

by on October 05, 2014 6:00 AM

 

A tractor-trailer hauling a load of used cars skidded down Pine Grove Mountain in Pine Grove Mills Saturday morning, careening through a busy intersection and slamming into two buildings.

One woman, sleeping in her bed, was injured when the truck plowed through her bedroom just after 8 a.m. Police say the truck's brakes were not in working condition and the driver will be issued a citation for the wreck.

The accident brought out a crowd of curious onlookers. Many residents, who live nearby recalled hearing the truck's brakes squeal as it came down the steep grade where Route 26 meets West Pine Grove road.

Jeanette Cisney, a clerk at the Pine Grove Country Store across the street, heard the noise and looked out her window in time to see the truck hit Kline's Garage and the house at 113 West Pine Grove Rd. "I just heard squealing tires and sliding and it was a lot more than what we usually hear. Usually, there's an end to it and the vehicles get stopped and that didn't happen so I came over here to look and just saw the tractor trailer go skidding through the intersection and into the buildings."

Cisney couldn't say how fast the truck was going as it collided with those buildings. She notes that the road was recently resurfaced and that it had rained overnight, possibly creating more slippery conditions than normal. Cisney says she called 911 and ran outside. "I was wondering if the people in those apartments were alright," she says.

The house that was hit is a duplex with one unit on the first floor and a second one upstairs.

The truck crashed through the wall, crushing almost everything in that front bedroom. Amazingly, the unidentified woman who was in the room did not appear to be seriously injured. She was taken to the hospital with what authorities describe as a shoulder injury. A woman in the upstairs apartment was also home but was not hurt.

Ferguson Township Police Sgt. Robert Glenny says an inspection revealed the truck's braking system was not working properly. "Seven out of the ten brakes on the truck were out of adjustment," he says. "There were some minor air leaks (in the hydraulic system) and we believe they were probably contributing factors to the crash. The braking efficiency of the truck, especially coming down the mountain, would not have been that good."

Glenny says wet roads could also have been a factor, and could have compounded the braking problems. "The driver will be cited for equipment violations, most certainly," he adds.

Alpha Fire Company Safety Officer Sven Pedersen says, "Fortunately, the tractor trailer's saddle (gas) tanks were not ruptured. Utility connections at the home had to be shut off as a precaution before emergency crews could go to work.

Pedersen says the truck's driver was not injured, "He was able to self-extricate from the vehicle."

The truck was hauling seven cars, including a Porsche, several Audis and a Mercedes. Two vehicles atop the car carrier were knocked loose on impact. Emergency crews decided it was too dangerous to move the wrecked truck until those two vehicles could be removed. A crane was brought in to pick up the two cars which were then towed away.

Traffic on Route 45 had to be detoured for several hours. Traffic on Route 26 was down to one lane until mid-afternoon. All traffic had to be stopped when the truck was pulled out of the house at around 1 p.m.

When crews from Tennis Towing were able to nudge the truck's cab out of the house, a gaping hole was clearly visible with piles of shattered wood, siding and dry wall scattered in all directions.

Kline's Garage suffered a glancing blow in the wreck that shredded one corner of the building. The gararge's owner was reportedly inside but was not hurt. He declined to comment on the wreck.

Glenny says a truck with bad breaks slammed into Kline's Garage several years ago, killing one person inside. Glenny also says there has been a proposal to realign the intersection but nothing definite is planned.

Because damage is considered severe, the duplex has been declared unfit for habitation. The Red Cross was called in to help residents find alternative housing.

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Steve Bauer was the Managing Editor of StateCollege.com. Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy.
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