On days like this, I love my job.
I’d just finished gassing up my car at the BellStores on U.S. 250 East. I was going to use the carwash and was folding my side-view mirrors in when an Ashland Fire Department ambulance flew by, headed east on U.S. 250.
They often make runs to Kingston of Ashland, a nursing home across from the Highway Patrol post. But this one was running hot — too hot for a nursing home call.
I folded the mirrors out, got into the car and listened to the scanner. Semi rollover with entrapment at the 184 mile marker on southbound I-71.
As I headed south on the interstate, I called the paper and asked them to send out a photographer.
I squeezed off a few shots with my Canon G-10 before he got there, just in case. It was early dawn and the lighting was bad, but I managed to get maybe three good shots out of 30. Good enough to post on breaking news when I got back to the paper.
The cab of the truck was mangled. The driver sustained “significant injuries” as one firefighter put it. Not life-threatening, but enough to need a higher level of medical attention.
The squad took him to MedCentral Hospital in Mansfield.
Given the circumstances, he probably dreaded the thought of getting out of the hospital — where he was going to feel a different kind of pain. Mainly in his wallet.
As I gathered more information on the crash, what appeared to be a tragedy morphed into a mystery and comedy.
I’ll piece it together.
The trooper arrives on the scene. (Actually a lieutenant from another post was the first on the scene.) The trooper from the Ashland post finds two guys climbing out of the wreckage, one half-dressed.
He tells the trooper he had been driving.
He eventually confesses that he was in the sleeper of the cab and his buddy was driving . The half-dressed guy ends up getting cited for obstructing official business.
The driver, meanwhile, is under suspension.
He was cited for failure to control and driving under suspension.
The Highway Patrol considered charging him with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, since the half-dressed passenger didn’t own the rig and probably didn’t have the authority to let his buddy drive.
Bottom line, they were hauling a load of toilet paper. Talk about something that would automatically make you the butt of jokes.