PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The driver of a box truck was taken into police custody Friday after his vehicle plowed into the back of a car on Route 65, killing a woman instantly.
“He indicates he doesn’t know what happened prior to accident. He thinks he may have dosed off or fallen asleep, that was his statement,” said Ambridge Police Chief James Mann about the man said to be responsible for a fatal crash on Route 65.
When 36-year-old Jeremy Hurst walked out of the Ambridge Police Station, he was crying. Hours earlier, police say he was the cause of a fatal accident at the intersection of Route 65 and Fourth Street.
He said to reporters, “I’m very sorry for what happened to the family.”
Police say there were no skid marks, indicating Hurst made no attempt to stop the box truck he was driving when he plowed into the back of a car driven by 49-year-old Debra Douds as she waited at the red light.
Douds was killed instantly, and her car was pushed nearly 260 feet.
“It was a very violent impact,” said Chief Mann. “The trunk of the car was pushed up to the back seat. Everything in the back was disintegrated.”
Hurst was driving an empty Penske rental truck, used by the roofing company he worked for.
He has worked for Alabek Roofing for three years, but is actually from Memphis, Tennessee, where police say he is wanted for manufacturing methamphetamines and theft.
According to Chief Mann, Hurst is also a methamphetamine addict and takes medication for the addiction, a drug that can cause sleepiness or drowsiness.
“He indicated to me he was taking Suboxone two times a day at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. He has a prescription for it. I don’t know if that had anything to do with the accident,” said Chief Mann.
Douds lived with her mother and brother in Rochester.
Shortly after the tragic accident, co-workers from Walmart delivered food. Ada Henderson talked about the loss.
“She was one of the nicest women you would ever want to meet,” said Henderson.
Douds also worked at the Masonic Village Nursing Home where she had been the lead housekeeper for 20 years. Her brother, Rich Shroyer says Douds had two adult sons and was a real go getter.
“She was real sweet and would do anything for you,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hurst will be extradited to Tennessee for the drug and theft charges and brought back here for possible charges in Pennsylvania.
The fatal crash closed down part of Route 65 for much of the morning, but it has since reopened.
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