Lehigh Valley

Police file traffic citations after 18-wheeler barrels off I-78 embankment

Driver cited

WEISENBERG TWP., Pa. - The driver of an 18-wheeler is facing traffic citations after his vehicle drove off an embankment along a dangerous stretch of I-78 near the Lehigh-Berks county border.

The wreck happened Wednesday morning, May 28, when a tractor trailer hauling 25 tons of plastic pellets went off the eastbound side of the highway and down an embankment.

On Saturday morning, state police issued a news release noting that the driver, 21-year-old Damian Ford of Alabama, was being cited for careless driving, driving on roadways laned for traffic, and causing an accident involving overturned vehicles.

In the release, police said the truck ran off the road for "unknown reasons."

The wreck  happened near the Route 863 Lynnport/New Smithville interchange in Weisenberg Township, Lehigh County, about a mile east of the Berks County line.

Traffic was slowed getting by the scene while crews worked to haul away the truck.

The driver of the truck and a passenger were transported to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries, state police said.

The plastic pellets the truck was carrying are used in the manufacturing of such products as water bottles and Solo cups, officials said.

This crash comes on the heels of a horrifying fiery wreck on I-78 that killed three people only about 2 miles away in Greenwich Township.

Following that fatal wreck, PennDOT released sobering statistics.

The crash rate on that 8-mile stretch of 78 is 71%, above the state average, and the fatality rate is 41%

PennDOT is working on major projects aimed at improving safety along that stretch of the highway.

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