According to the Chillicothe Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the accident occurred around 9 a.m. near Beaver and wasn't cleared until just before 2 p.m.
According to the OSHP report, James Blackburn, 46, was operating a Ohio Department of Transportation backhoe and was going east in the right lane of Ohio 335 when he was struck from behind by the semi-truck driven by John Dupke, 56, of Martins Ferry.
The truck went across the median and came to rest in the westbound lanes of Ohio 32.
Blackburn was transported to Pike Community Hospital and then taken by helicopter to Grant Medical Hospital in Columbus. He was listed in stable condition.
Dupke was taken to Pike Community Hospital where he was treated for injuries and released.
Two steel coils came off the trailer and caused damage to the highway and tied up traffic for four and a half hours.
“Gahm's had the equipment to move the big rolls of steel and then ODOT brought asphalt and patched up the pavement that was chewed up,” said Trooper Doug DeBord, adding that each roll of steel weighed 10 tons.
DeBord said both vehicles had major damage. The backhoe was totaled from the impact and the semi was knocked out of commission when the steel rolls moved.
“The engine came out of the semi, the transmission came out, and one of the rolls of steel almost went through the cab of the truck,” DeBord said. He added that as far as he knew the steel had been fastened down properly. “Any time you have an accident like that, those rolls are going to move.”
Dupke was cited for not maintaining assured clear distance from a vehicle in front of him. He told the troopers the morning sun was in his eyes. He was jailed after troopers found he had a warrant for his arrest out of Belmont County.
“All in all, this one turned out OK except for a few bumps and bruises,” DeBord said.
The OSHP is continuing its investigation into the accident.
MARK SHAFFER can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235.