Driver falls asleep, crashes

MARIETTA – Piles of lumber covered an SUV that had veered left of center Monday morning, hitting a gas line and crashing through a fence into Haessly Lumber on Ohio 7.

The driver of the 2003 Chevy Trailblazer, Shawn Oliver, 30, of 915 Sugar Run Road, Marietta, escaped with minor scrapes and bruises, said Lt. Carlos Smith, commander of the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Marietta Post.

“He’s saying that he fell asleep, over corrected, went off the side of the road and took out the fence,” said Smith.

Oliver ran over a capped vertical pipe extending from a natural gas line and caused a leak in the area, said Dominion East Ohio spokesman Neil Durbin.

“Our people isolated the damaged line…We cut off the flow of gas by 10:10 a.m. After making repairs, we restored gas by 2:35 p.m.,” he said.

The incident disrupted service for 62 customers. Dominion employees were restoring service to those customers Monday afternoon and evening.

Oliver will be cited for failure to control in the incident, said Smith.

The vehicle crashed through the fence surrounding Haessly Lumber, just south of Newport on Ohio 7, and into large piles of lumber, which fell onto the vehicle. Oliver was able to extricate himself before emergency personnel arrived, said Lt. Brian Burdette of the Newport Volunteer Fire Department.

The St. Marys Volunteer Fire Department also responded.

The accident happened shortly after 6 a.m., and the Newport Volunteer Fire Department cleared the scene after the vehicle was extricated around 11 a.m., said Burdette.

The accident caused damage to the fence and lumber at the business, but nothing extensive, said owner Jack Haessly.

“It was a bit of a scary situation. But the driver escaped unharmed and our good, reliable fire department responded quickly,” he said.

Haessly and one other employee were at the business when the crash occurred but did not hear it happen from inside the office. No one at the business was injured.

“Luckily there wasn’t a fire. It would have been very, very bad if there was a fire,” said Haessly.