A tough day in Somerset County as emergency crews try to save one of their own, but in the end a volunteer fire fighter dies after his truck collides with a coal truck early Thursday afternoon. Detectives are investigating the accident that killed Windber Volunteer Fire Fighter Joe Lehman. Channel 6 is told it took emergency crews, who witnesses say were very emotional at times, close to three hours to get Lehman out of his pickup truck.
Ed Patsy, eyewitness to the accident says, I was just standing in my garage. I heard this loud bang and I turned around and I could see the cab of the truck flying through the air across the highway and I could see the coal truck had him and he just slid him down the road and into that pole over there across the road.
All that’s left of the accident on Route 160 is skid marks and glass. Before the clean-up began, witnesses saw a coal truck on top of Joe Lehman’s work truck. When the massive truck was pulled off, the front of Lehmans truck was basically gone.
Ed says, I knew not even to go over. I just grabbed the telephone and called 911.
Somerset County Coroner Wally Miller says Lehman died on impact; the coal truck driver wasn’t hurt. Ed tells Channel 6 there’ve been many accidents on the stretch of highway in front of his home. He says Route 160 is heavily traveled by cars and trucks of all kinds. He’s noticed trucks having problems crossing what he considers a narrow bridge and…
The birms of the road are real bad here and they keep repairing them which in time it’s just going to get worse.
Detectives tell Channel 6 they expect to know the cause of the accident Friday morning. As you can imagine, the Windber Fire Department is devastated by the loss of their friend and colleague. Everyone Channel 6 spoke to said Joe was a great guy who was well liked and he’ll be sorely missed.