NTSB: Corroded straps to blame for falling conduit that killed trucker in PA Turnpike Tunnel

The NTSB says that the corrosion was detected back in 2016.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a report today blaming corroded infrastructure for the falling conduit that claimed the life of a New Jersey truck driver in the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s Lehigh Tunnel in February.

The February 21 crash claimed the life of 70 year old truck driver Howard Sexton, who was killed after an electrical conduit crashed through the windshield of his vehicle, striking him in the head. From the NTSB’s report:

After traveling about 1,000 feet though the 4,379-foot-long tunnel, the truck-tractor  struck a 10-foot-long section of electrical conduit that had broken away from its attachment point(s) on the tunnel’s ceiling. The conduit penetrated the vehicle’s windshield (figure 2), striking the driver. The combination vehicle continued and after exiting the tunnel came to rest along the right shoulder of the highway. The truck driver was killed; no other injuries were reported.

Today’s report from the NTSB blames corrosion on the steel straps that held the conduit to the ceiling of the tunnel for the fatal incident.

Lehigh Tunnel

The report also indicates that the corrosion had been discovered in 2016 and that the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission was in the process of hiring a contractor to replace the the corroded straps.

The NTSB’s results are preliminary and the investigation will continue with assistance from the Federal Highway Administration, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, and the Pennsylvania State Police.