Eyewitnesses and police are calling the driver of a 12-wheel heavy dump truck a hero for sacrificing his own life to save those in the path of his out-of-control truck as it sped down Portage Trail this morning. Earlier reports erroneously reported the truck was traveling on Portage Path.
Police have confirmed the identify of the driver as Christopher Burgess, 41, of Ravenna. He was an employee of Huber Trucking of Kent.
Witness Treymaine Danzy tells AkronNewsNow he would have been "crushed" if not for the horn-blowing warnings Burgess was able to frantically make as his vehicle careened down the hill toward Akron-Peninsula Road and the Valley Shopping Center. Trista Nerendino says Burgess was courageous in putting the safety of others before himself, even to the point where she saw him waving his arms for other drivers to get out of the way.
Burgess' truck went through the intersection of Portage Trail and Akron-Peninsula Road after 11:00 this morning and avoided slamming into buildings in the Valley Shopping Center before hitting a tree and then coming to a stop in the Cuyahoga River, with the driver's cab submerged.
Akron fire and police dive and rescue teams were on the scene for rescue but that turned into a recovery mission once the body was discovered. A heavy crane was required to pull the vehicle from the water behind the shopping center at 2:20 this afternoon.
Akron truck crash interviews by Akron NewsNow
UPDATE 12:43 p.m.
Authorities have confirmed that the driver of a dump truck is dead after his vehicle crashed and landed into the Cuyahoga River late Thursday morning.
Akron Fire and dive rescue crews were called to the scene of a dump truck partially submerged in the Cuyahoga River off Akron-Peninsula Road around 11:30 a.m.
(Picture to the Left: Dump truck partially submerged in the Cuyahoga River.)
Witnesses tell AkronNewsNow.com that the driver appeared to be traveling around 70 mph, waving his hands and honking his horn.
Authorities say the driver's brakes may have malfunctioned before the crash.
Tow trucks were on scene around 12:15 p.m. working to pull out the truck from the river.
Fuel from the truck also spilled into the river and the AFD Haz-Mat team were called to the scene.
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