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Local trucker killed in Pennsylvania crash


Trish Bennett, Editor

CIRCLEVILLE – A local trucking company is mourning the loss of a driver who was killed in a semi crash on a Pennsylvania interstate last week.

John Lyle Free II, 35, of Chillicothe, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash that occurred Nov. 19 on Interstate 90 near Erie, Pennsylvania. He was employed as a driver for Circleville-based Euro Trucking located on Island Road.

According to reports from the Pennsylvania State Police, Free was traveling eastbound on I-90 about 1:55 p.m. approaching a construction zone in a 2006 Freightliner semi truck when a 2009 Kenworth semi in front of him began to slow down.

The driver of the second semi, Donald Thomas, 50, of Tampa, Florida, reported Free’s truck was approaching from behind without slowing, so Thomas attempted to switch lanes to avoid a collision but was unable to do so.

The front end of Free’s semi struck the rear of Thomas’ semi, which was pushed into the median and came to rest facing east.

Free’s semi came to rest facing north blocking both eastbound travel lanes on I-90.

Thomas reportedly suffered minor injuries in the crash and was transported to the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center Hamot for treatment.

Free’s brother, John Jason Free, was riding as a passenger in his vehicle when the accident occurred, according to Sgt. Mark Zaleski, Pennsylvania State Police. He also was transported to UPMC Hamot, where he remained Monday in serious condition.

Free will be laid to rest Tuesday in Bainbridge Cemetery. Arrangements are being handled by the Smith-Moore-Ebright Funeral Home in Bainbridge.

This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal