Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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September 7, 2012

1 dead in I-77 crash

BLAND,Va. — Rain may have played a role Thursday in the tractor-trailer crash that took the life of an Ohio man.

The crash was reported 3:15 p.m. in the northbound lanes of Interstate 77 approximately five miles from Bland,Va., said Sgt. Scott Todd of the Virginia State Police. A crew with the Virginia Department of Transportation posted warning signs as traffic flow was reduced to one lane.

“The vehicle ran off the right side of the road, jackknifed, and struck the rock embankment,” Todd said as state troopers searched the wreckage for the driver’s papers and other items. “The cab disintegrated in the accident.”

Troopers initially withheld the driver’s name until his next of kin had been notified, but he was later identified as Paul G. Defriece, 40, of Vickery, Ohio. The Ohio Highway Patrol notified the driver’s family.

Rain was falling when the crash occurred, the investigating officer, Trooper Jerry Dixon said while crew prepared to clear the wreckage away.

“It had been raining pretty hard through there,” Dixon said. The exact cause of the crash was still under investigation.

When the tractor-trailer hit the embankment, the cab was dislodged and pulled back. The trailer and its cargo, a load of bricks, kept going forward and destroyed the cab, Dixon said.

The Bland County Volunteer Fire Department was also dispatched to the scene.�

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