PAULDING — One man died north of here Wednesday morning during a road incident involving downed utility lines.
The Ohio Highway Patrol’s Van Wert post was called at 11:22 a.m. to U.S. 127 and Township Road 176, two miles north of Paulding, where Vance Campbell, 54, Wauseon, was killed after being struck by the lines.
According to the Patrol, Campbell was trying to assist semi driver Timothy Webber, 60, Dayton, whose truck became entangled in low-hanging telephone lines while attempting to turn west from U.S. 127 onto Road 176.
The lines appeared to have been struck earlier by a vehicle that continued through the area.
Campbell had been standing on the trailer of Webber’s semi, according to the Patrol, when a southbound semi driven by John Reber, 40, Wauseon, struck the low-hanging lines. Campbell was then struck and killed by the lines.
“A very short time after the wires became loose from their connections, a semi got hung up in those wires,” said Lt. Jonathon Gray, commander of the Highway Patrol’s Van Wert post at about 12:15 p.m. Wednesday. “And there was another person stopped to help the semi untangle from those wires so they could finish their turn ... and as another semi passed by they clipped the wires as well, and in that incident a pedestrian that was out attempting to help the semi was struck and killed.”
Authorities worked Wednesday afternoon to track down the other vehicle involved that may have struck the lines initially but no charges appeared to be imminent.
“No charges are being filed at this time as to the facts surrounding the case,” Gray told The Crescent-News just after 4 p.m. Wednesday.
A witness at the scene indicated that the original semi that struck the wires was transporting a mobile home.
The incident closed U.S. 127 between County Road 144 and Ohio 111 immediately thereafter. Traffic on U.S. 127 was backed up for some distance due to the road closure.
The road reopened around 7 p.m., according to the Patrol.
Paulding EMS, Crane Township-Cecil Fire Department and the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office assisted at the scene while the power company AEP arrived to deal with the utility lines.
Gray noted that the incident is “just a reminder of what can happen when you’re on the road. If you happen to get out of your vehicle due to a breakdown or some other reason, make sure you turn on hazards. If the vehicle is disabled in the roadway, we always ask people to don’t stand near it, to get away from it, turn the hazards on and try to protect life at that point. And whenever a pedestrian’s on the road it’s really hard for traffic to see them sometimes.
“So, we always remind people to stay out of the roadway when there’s a breakdown that occurs, but also to not drive distracted,” Gray added. “Distractions can limit your visibility. If you’re not distracted you have a better visibility of the roadway, what’s ahead, what’s going on around you, slowing down and making attempts to avoid any obstructions or people that might be in the roadway ... and wear safety belts all the time.”