Driver hits semi after pulling through stop sign

NEW MANCHESTER – Monday’s accident involving a John D. Rockefeller IV Career Center tractor-trailer happened when a driver ran a stop sign and collided with the truck, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department said.

The driver allegedly at fault, but not yet cited, was identified in the sheriff’s accident report as Donald W. Lowther, 60, of New Manchester.

Driving a 2000 GMC Jimmy, Lowther pulled through the stop sign at Spruce Street and state Route 8 and into the path of a southbound tractor-trailer being operated by student driver William R. Hissam, 43, of Rogers, Ohio, the report said.

With Hissam was passenger Tim Egyud, an instructor with the Career Center’s Commercial Driver’s Licence program. All three refused medical treatment.

Following the initial impact, the rear of Lowther’s vehicle spun around and was struck by the passenger side fuel cell of the tractor-trailer, the report said. The impact perforated the fuel cell, causing about 45 gallons of diesel fuel to spill onto the road.

The New Manchester Volunteer Fire Department responded and cleaned up the spill, requiring Route 8 to be closed for several hours.

The Jimmy came to rest in a drainage ditch, along the southbound shoulder of Route 8. The tractor-trailer came to rest in the southbound lane it had been traveling in, the report said.

The tractor, a 2011 International owned by Aim Leasing Co. of Girard, Ohio, and the trailer, owned by Hancock County Schools, were both towed to the Career Center.

On Friday, Superintendent Suzan Smith said the district has replaced the truck and the accident did not affect the operation of the CDL program.

Lowther told the investigating officer, sheriff’s Deputy 1st Class Joe Kauffman, that he slid on black ice, through the stop sign and into the intersection, according to the report.

Upon further investigation, Kauffman determined that Spruce Street was “completely dry, devoid of both ice and snow. In addition, roadway debris in the form of small stones and leftover road salt was minimal.”

The Career Center’s CDL program opened in October 2012 to train students 21 and older for a career in truck driving. The 12-week program prepares students from West Virginia and Ohio to test for their CDL.