Federal investigators are probing the circumstances that led to the death of a New Jersey-based truck driver who was killed by a falling electrical conduit in the Lehigh Tunnel on the Pennsylvania Turnpike last week.
Photos of tractor trailer involved in Lehigh Tunnel crash. Authorities say a metal beam crashed through the windshield. Truck found pulled over just outside tunnel, driver deceased. @wbrewyou pic.twitter.com/rUGlWM7WJJ
— Brianna Strunk (@bstrunknews) February 22, 2018
The National Transportation Safety Board has already begun a field investigation focusing on the conduits and conduit-support system in the southbound Lehigh Tunnel ceiling, according to a release from the Pennsylania Turnpike Commission. The field investigation should be completed by Wednesday with a preliminary report coming in the next month. A full report could take a year.
The southbound lanes of the Lehigh Tunnel have been closed down since 8 a.m. to allow federal agents to investigate.
Trucker Killed By Falling Debris In Lehigh Tunnel
On February 21, 70 year old truck driver Howard Sexton III died after a section of what was described as an “electrical conduit” fell from the ceiling of the Lehigh Tunnel and crashed through his windshield, striking him in the head. Police say that they found Sexton deceased inside his truck which was stopped outside of the tunnel.
PA Turnpike engineers are investigating what caused a metal pipe to fall from the ceiling of the southbound Lehigh Tunnel on Wed, killing truck driver Howard Sexton, 70, of Mickleton, NJ. @CBSPhilly @ 5:30 & 6:30am, Sexton’s niece tells us how the family is coping with the loss. pic.twitter.com/dMIx0BXufz
— Trang Do (@TrangDoCBS3) February 23, 2018
According to reports, other vehicles were also damaged by the falling conduit. No other injuries have been reported.
The southbound #LehighTunnel has reopened after last night’s fatal crash – investigators say a piece of electrical conduit fell from the tunnel ceiling, landing on a truck, killing the driver. @CBSPhilly pic.twitter.com/hnUB4F8N5t
— Joe Holden (@JoeHoldenCBS3) February 22, 2018
A witness told Lehigh Valley Live that he spotted a thick length of wire hanging from the ceiling moments before the fatal accident.
Pennsylvania Turnpike CEO Mark Compton remarked, “We are eager to understand exactly what caused this tragedy so we can work to ensure it doesn’t happen again. We will continue to cooperate fully with NTSB personnel throughout their investigation.”