Driver cited in Belpre crash

BELPRE – A woman injured when a backhoe fell from a flatbed trailer after striking the train trestle over Main Street Thursday afternoon was treated and released from the hospital that evening.

Meanwhile, the driver of the truck was cited and the company that owns the vehicle is doing an internal investigation.

The accident occurred around 4:45 p.m. Thursday when the tractor-trailer rig owned by Marietta Industrial Enterprises was traveling north on Main Street. The backhoe was being taken to MIE’s Ohio 7 location to assist with cleanup from a fire earlier this month that destroyed three buildings.

The backhoe struck the trestle and came off the trailer, striking a red Kia Rio driven by Sandra Bugby, 47, of Harrisville, and landing on the front of a rented Chevrolet Envoy driven by Texas resident Richard Randolph.

“They cut her (Bugby) out of the car and took her straight to the hospital,” said Belpre Police Sgt. Joe Fields.

Bugby suffered a broken collarbone and broken ribs, Belpre Police Chief Ernie Clevenger said. She was taken to Camden Clark Medical Center’s Memorial Campus, where she was treated and released, Fields said.

The driver of the truck, 59-year-old Stanley Ankrom, a resident of the Belpre area, was cited for failure to obey a traffic control sign, specifically the 13-foot, 6-inch height restriction sign, Fields said.

The bridge sustained minor damage and was inspected by CSX personnel, he said.

“It was damaged, but not to the point where the railroad bridge had to be closed,” Fields said.

Clevenger said the accident could have easily been avoided had the driver of the truck paid attention to the signs.

“The signs are accurate and there for a reason,” he said. “I have been told there is a website that lists the height differently, but that is not correct.

“If there is a question as to something of that nature, always pay attention to the signs and err on the side of caution and go with the lower height,” he added.

MIE President Scott Elliott said he’s heard about other problems people have had with the bridge, but that wasn’t his primary concern.

“The real issue here is that you’re supposed to secure your loads,” he said.

Per company policy, Ankrom was tested for dug or alcohol use, and the vehicles and equipment will be inspected by MIE’s safety personnel, Elliott said.

“We are doing an internal investigation,” he said. “Then we’ll determine whether retraining or disciplinary actions will be taken.”

“Our greatest concern is for the lady that has been injured,” Elliott added.

Clevenger said there was no indication alcohol or drugs were a factor in the accident.

Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz said people have commented that the city should do something about either the bridge or the street to create more space.

“The bridge does not belong to the city, and we cannot do anything about it; that is the job of CSX,” he said. “And as for lowering the roadway, it will cost millions of dollars the city does not have, so people need to pay attention to the height requirements to avoid accidents like this in the future.”

(Staff writer Jolene Craig contributed.)