LIBERTY - A truck hauling asphalt sealant overturned Tuesday morning, killing the driver from Lowellville.
Inside the truck, the passenger spoke by cell phone to the company's owner while he waited more than 40 minutes as crews strained to cut him from the wreckage on Tibbetts Wick Road, west of state Route 11.
The vehicle had been westbound about 10 a.m. on Tibbetts Wick when it traveled off the right side of the road, striking a mailbox.
Tribune Chronicle / Dave Dermer
The truck for JD Sealcoat is hoisted by a tow truck after a crash Tuesday in Liberty. The driver was killed.
The driver over-corrected and went left of center into oncoming traffic, then swerved back to the right, avoiding the oncoming traffic, again traveling off the right side of the road, Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers said.
The 2011 Ford F-550 tanker truck overturned and struck a tree on the driver's side. The tree was partially uprooted and the sealant spilled.
Driver David A. Johngrass, 33, of Lowellville, was pronounced dead at the scene. The passenger, Samuel G. Inskeep, 21, of Lowellville, was transported to St. Elizabeth Medical Center, where he is listed in stable condition.
It took workers about 40 minutes to get Inskeep out of the vehicle, and at least another hour to get Johngrass out, Liberty fire Chief Michael Durkin said.
The extrication and rescue was complicated because crews first had to stabilize the tree, or risk it toppling in the middle of the rescue.
During the rescue, firefighters' feet and tools kept sinking in the spilled sealant. They also had to take pictures of extrication process for the coroner's office.
Durkin said both Inskeep and Johngrass were wearing seat belts, and the airbags deployed, further complicating the rescue.
Joey Donatelli, owner of JD Sealcoat LLC in Lowellville, who came to the scene during the rescue attempts, said he was on the phone with Inskeep while Inskeep was still trapped inside the vehicle, awaiting rescue. Inskeep told him he could not see Johngrass and did not know his condition.
Donatelli said the asphalt truck was coming from Boardman, headed to a job at Panera Bread in Warren.
At the time, he declined to name the two employees, simply calling them "two good men." Inskeep and Johngrass have been with him for one year and five years, respectively.
Nearby resident Debbie Love was tending her bird feeders in her back yard when she heard the loud noise. She was standing where she could see the truck near where it hit the mailbox, before veering back across the road into the yard across the street where it struck the tree. She said the impact of the truck hitting the tree shook her house and awoke her husband.
Love said she heard a loud sound, like an explosion, before the truck struck the mailbox and thinks there may have been some kind of blowout on the vehicle, causing it to go out of control.
Ohio State Highway Patrol said the crash remains under investigation.
Officials from Trumbull County Hazmat and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency were on the scene. A Hazmat worker at the scene said a southern Ohio company was being brought in to to clean up the spill.