PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Officials said the truck driver who crashed in the Fort Pitt Tunnel missed multiple warning signs.
At the beginning of the Wednesday evening rush hour, a car carrier tractor-trailer loaded with pickup trucks scrapped the roof while entering the tunnel and then came to a crashing halt while trying to exit on the city side.
The Dodge Ram Pickup that collided with the roof of the tunnel was bent almost in half and wedged against the roof, prompting the closing of the tunnel for about
1 1/2 hours.
As crews deflated tires to free the truck, state police spokesperson Melinda Bondarenka said driver Pierre Perkins of Homestead told troopers, “He’s from the area and driven through this tunnel numerous times and never had any issues.”
Tunnel crews said Perkins’ truck tripped all three overheight sensors, causing the red lights to come on and shut down the tunnel.
But tunnel manager Ben DeVore said, “He did not stop. All the vehicles stopped behind him like he should have.”
Bondarenka said Perkins also told the troopers, “He didn’t see the indicators not to enter the tunnel.”
DeVore said the contact with the tunnel roof on entry was loud, but Perkins said he didn’t realize there was an issue until the pickup hit the roof exiting the tunnel.
The police and tunnel crews said it is fortunate the rest of the traffic stopped because the truck came to such a sudden stop when it hit the roof a chai-reaction crash would have been likely.
Perkins faces charges beginning with driving an overheight vehicle into the tunnel.