MARIETTA - Authorities in Washington County are investigating an accident that killed two people Thursday morning on Ohio 7 south of Marietta.
Dwight A. Knapp, 40, 827 Second St., Marietta, and Chyennea Uppole, 20, of 128 Hall Road, were in a milk tanker truck that went over an an embankment on Ohio 7 near the Solvay Advanced Polymers, the Ohio Highway Patrol said.
Knapp, the driver, and Uppole were pronounced death at the scene of the crash, near the entrance of Solvay employee park, the patrol said. The two were described by Trooper Lea Mikes with the Marietta post as family friends.
Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers confer as first responders work to reach a Mack truck pulling a milk tanker that ran off of Ohio 7 Thursday morning near the Solvay Advanced Polymers’ employee park Thursday. Both occupants of the vehicle were pronounced dead at the scene. (Photo by Evan Bevins)
Knapp was an employee of William Ford Trucking of Marietta, which owns the 1988 Mack truck he was driving. The tank was full of milk to be delivered in Marietta.
The crash was reported by a witness at 5:37 a.m. Thursday, Mikes said.
The truck was going north on Ohio 7 near milepost 17 when it went off the right side of the road and struck a guardrail. The truck then went across the road into the median before swerving back to the right and into the median a second time.
Coming out of the median, Mikes said, the truck went right again, crossing the private drive to the Solvay park and going over the guardrail and down the embankment, striking several trees along the way and coming to a rest partially overturned.
Knapp and Uppole were not wearing seatbelts, Mikes said.
At one point nearly a dozen emergency vehicles were on scene as the patrol, the Washington County Sheriff's Office and Warren Township Volunteer Fire Department responded. Traffic in the northbound lane of Ohio 7 at the site was reduced to one lane for several hours.
When firefighters arrived, the truck was barely visible because of all the trees and brush, Warren Fire Chief Mark Wile said.
"It's wedged in there amongst trees," he said, calling the scene "one of the hardest ones to get to that I've been on."
First responders proceeded with caution as they tried to right the truck and get it back on the road.
"Nothing fast's going to happen here," Wile said as they continued to work around 9 a.m. Thursday. "I want to keep my responders safe because we're cutting trees and moving cable here. We don't need anybody else hurt."
The crash remains under investigation and Mikes said it was still not known what caused Knapp to lose control of the vehicle. Alcohol and drug use are not suspected, though, she said.