Valley View, OH Truck Crash Kills 9, Aug 1976


Valley View, Ohio (UPI) - A tractor-trailer truck running out of control down a long, steep hill slammed into a line of cars waiting for a traffic light Friday night. Nine persons died and 11 others were injured, three critically, in the fiery crash.
"I looked up and there was the truck," said Mayor Robert D. Cusick of neighboring Brooklyn Heights, a Cleveland suburb.
"Cars and pieces of truck and everything were flying all over the place."
Cusick, who was stopped at the other side of the intersection, helped rescue a couple and four children from one car that was pushed into an old canal near the crossroads.
Police said the driver of the truck was
"shaken up" in the accident but was otherwise unhurt. They declined to identify him pending their investigation of the cause of the accident, but said the truck's brakes apparently failed on the grade.
Cuyahoga County Coroner Samuel Gerber said no attempt would be made to identify the victims until today. Many of the dead were burned by burning gasoline from their exploding cars.
Witnesses said the westbound truck, which was carrying a load of hair spray, and nine cars were involved in the crash.
"We were next in line to get it," said Cusick, whose car was in the eastbound lane. "We were stopped at the light and all at once I looked up and saw this semi coming down hill. It was out of control and in the process of tipping over as I saw it."
"My wife was screaming and I was hoping it would stop in time. It tipped over right in the intersection on top of a car," the mayor said.
"There was a station wagon pushed by the impact into the old Ohio Canal in the southwest corner of the intersection. I jumped out of our car right away and went into the canal and helped pull the children through the tailgate window. They all made it out of there. The only casualty was the family pet, a dog."
Cusick said he next ran to a nearby restaurant and had employees call an ambulance.
"We were almost certain that it was going to hit us because we were right at the intersection," he recalled. "It was a helpless, helpless feeling."

The Republic Columbus Indiana 1976-08-21