ARMSTRONG COUNTY (KDKA) – Three kids are now without a mother after a fatal crash involving a coal truck Friday morning. The driver said he did everything he could to avoid the collision.

Tarrtown Road in East Franklin Township leaves drivers no margin for error, as was tragically proven this morning.

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It was an unfair match-up. A fully loaded tri-axle dump truck heading south against a sedan heading north. Behind the wheel of the Ford Taurus was 27-year-old Tara Johns.

For some reason, she crossed the center line and hit the 2013 Peterbilt head-on. Johns was killed instantly. The truck’s driver was inconsolable.

“He tried to do everything possible to avoid the accident, and it wasn’t his fault,” Sgt. William Evans, Jr., said. “He tried to steer to the right until he got to the embankment. Couldn’t go to the right due to the embankment, laid on his air horn from the time he saw her until the time of impact.”

Crash investigators say, based on evidence at the scene, this may have been a case of distracted driving.

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“There’s a possibility she could have been looking down or even texting,” Evans said.

Investigators say Johns was driving with a suspended license. She was roughly 3/4 miles from her home. The saddest aspect of this accident may be this…

“Three kids don’t have a mother,” Evans said.

While the investigation into the accident continues, we understand the driver of the coal truck will not face any charges.

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