1 dead in 3-truck crash on I-275
2 hurt; freeway closed for hours

Wednesday, December 2, 1998

Enquirer Contributor

SHARONVILLE -- A Covington man was killed and two other people were injured in a three-truck crash on Interstate 275 near Reed Hartman Highway on Tuesday morning.

A tow truck driven by Wendell A. Bell II, 21, of Covington was traveling west on I-275 when it crossed the median and was struck head-on by a semitruck about 10:30 a.m., said Sharonville Police Sgt. Dale Dorning. That semi then hit another semi, pushing both tractors into an embankment.

The tow truck ended up on its top in the median.

Mr. Bell was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger, a 17-year-old boy, was airlifted to University Hospital,where he was listed in critical condition.

John Bloom, 41, of Hillsboro, Ohio, who was driving the semi that was hit by the tow truck, was treated at Bethesda North Hospital and released, Sgt. Dorning said. Jeffrey Bloom, 39, John's brother, was driving the other semi. He was not injured.

The accident closed I-275 in both directions about three hours as firefighters worked to free Mr. Bell from the wreckage. The eastbound lanes of the highway remained closed until about 2:45 p.m. while crews from the Ohio

Department of Transportation cleaned fuel and debris from the highway.

Traffic watchers at ARTIMIS used electric message signs on Interstates 71 and 75, and on I-275 in Kentucky to warn motorists of the I-275 closure, said David Leonard, operations supervisor for ARTIMIS.

"(275 east) was completely closed for four hours and (tie-ups) never got back any farther than I-75," Mr. Leonard said. "I have a strong belief that the people are paying attention to what's on there."

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