The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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March 2, 2013

Pa. man dies in Turnpike crash

BLUEFIELD — A trucker from Pennsylvania was fatally injured in a single-vehicle wreck in the median of I-77 about 3 miles north of the Virginia state line in West Virginia.

Lester Walker Jr., 48, of Connellsville, Pa., was traveling north in his International tractor pulling a flatbed trailer carrying a load of coiled steel when his truck ran into the median strip and flipped on its top, according to state police.

Sgt. D.W. Miller, co-commander of the Princeton Detachment of the West Virginia State Police, said that Walker was passing another 18-wheeler when the wreck occurred. “The driver of the truck he was passing graciously stopped and talked to me about the wreck,” Miller said. “He said it looked like his (Walker’s) load shifted when he was passing.”

Lester was operating a truck for Kaplan Trucking Co., based in Cleveland. The driver was transporting the load to Minster, Ohio, according to Miller. The state police received the call on the wreck at 9:01 a.m. Walker was pronounced dead at the scene.

In addition to the state police, the Bluefield Rescue Squad, Green Valley-Glenwood Volunteer Fire Department and East River Volunteer Fire Department responded to the crash site. Walker was the only occupant of the vehicle.

Traffic was totally blocked for a time on I-77 as responders cleared the debris from the wreck site. Crews closed the southbound lanes later Friday afternoon to continue the process of removing wreck debris from the median. Snow was falling when the wreck occurred and a fog had set in about a mile north of the crash scene.

— Bill Archer is a writer for The Bluefield Daily Telegraph

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