Semi driver ticketed for illegally parking after fatal I-275 crash

Semi driver ticketed for illegally parking after fatal crash

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, KY. (FOX19) - One person is dead after a two-vehicle crash on eastbound Interstate 275 in Highland Heights early Tuesday.

This is the second fatal accident within the week involving a parked tractor trailer getting struck by a vehicle.

Highland Heights police say the semi was parked in the emergency lane. The operator, Michael Wenzel, was asleep when a pick-up truck driven by Barry Hall, of Loveland, struck the rear of the trailer, killing Hall.

Wenzel did not get hurt and was cited for illegally parking on a limited access highway.

Kerry Stribling of Shannon, Miss. has been driving trucks for 32 years. He says he’s had someone run into his truck before.

“I was sleeping one night and got knocked out of the bunk end at the truck stop," he said.

Stribling is lucky -- his accident happened at a truck stop and nobody got killed. He’s not surprised what happened on I-275.

"Not with them parked on the side of the road,” he said. “I mean, some of us park on ramps. I don't do it because I'm scared of it. People come off too fast, half asleep."

Only six days ago, an SUV rear-ended a tractor trailer on I-75 near the Monroe exit, killing the driver of the SUV. The truck driver was not cited.

"That's where your problem runs, when you go to places you ain't been or a young driver and you ain't been out here, you don't know where to park, so you have to just hunt,” said Stribling.

Longtime truck driver Gary Powell of Reese, Mich. says his log says when it is time to stop -- if he doesn’t, then he’s in trouble. He syas even if you’re within a mile of where you know there’s a safer place to pull off, you’ve got to stop.

“There’s a button you can press on there and you can keep going but you’re not supposed to, you know? You’re just supposed to just pull over," he said. “But a lot of guys don’t have any place to pull over, so you find a place really quick.”

If not, he said, you're done.

"You probably get fired," said Powell, who’s been on the roads for 40 years.

He said back in the days of handwritten paper logs, it wasn’t as strict as it is now, with electronic GPS tracking and electronic logs.

“The company says it’s all up to us, planning, planning, planning, but sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t,” said Stribling.

He says getting stuck behind a nasty accident or road construction, eats into the time you should be on the road.

According to Powell, there is competition for parking from RVs and vacationers.

"It'll be full on the sides, on the roads going out it'll be full, all the way down the ramps is gonna be full," said Stribling.

Investigators still do not know what caused Hall to get into the emergency lane and strike that semi. Highland Heights police want to speak with you if you were a witness to the crash. Call Campbell County Dispatch Center at 859-292-3622 if you think you can help.

Copyright 2019 WXIX. All rights reserved.