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Updated 38 minutes ago
A Georgia man is in the Westmoreland County Prison on charges he caused a pileup on Route 22 in Salem that injured three people, stalled traffic for eight hours and damaged 10 vehicles in 2015, according to state police.
Investigators got an arrest warrant in late July for tractor-trailer driver Andrew Maurice Parkes, 30, but just recently arrested him, court records show.
Parkes' attorney, David Shrager, said he will investigate the crash and defend the case as appropriate.
“He was picked up in Georgia and then extradited here,” Shrager said. “He has no previous criminal history, as far as I know.”
Two drivers and a road construction worker were injured in the crash that occurred just after 6 a.m. on June 30, 2015, at the Mark Drive intersection with heavily traveled Route 22, in front of the Lamplighter restaurant and a GetGo.
Forensic analysis showed Parkes was driving a 2005 Freightliner rig west at 62 mph in a 45 mph zone, approaching a PennDOT work zone where traffic was being diverted from two lanes into a single lane, according to the affidavit of probable cause.
Parkes' rig struck the rear of a 2011 Ford pickup truck that was forced into the back of a Suzuki sport-utility vehicle that had slowed in traffic, police said. The SUV driver was injured. A construction worker placing signs on the highway nearby was struck by airborne debris.
The impact forced the rig and the pickup truck — its driver was seriously injured — over the center median and into the oncoming lanes. The trailer separated from the tractor and flipped on its side, blocking the highway in both directions. Seven cars were damaged in the Victory Automotive Group lot on the east side of the highway, police said.
Parkes told investigators that an SUV pulled out of Mark Drive in front of him and he swerved to avoid it. He was not injured.
Troopers who inspected the rig after the crash found numerous equipment violations, many involving multiple failures in the brake system, and cited Parkes for failing to properly maintain a driving log and other maintenance records.
Parkes is being held in jail on $50,000 bail on a charge of aggravated assault by a vehicle and numerous summary vehicle code, equipment and record-keeping violations. A Feb. 21 preliminary hearing is set.
The intersection was the site of another major crash on June 14, 2016, that killed driver Albert Tomasino, 67, of Jeannette.
Tractor-trailer driver Cruz Humberto Guzman Nieves, 27, of Illinois, is serving a sentence of one year less a day to two years less a day in the county jail for homicide by vehicle and aggravated assault by vehicle. Police said Guzman Nieves ran a red light at the Mark Drive intersection and caused an eight-vehicle pileup.
Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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