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MICHIGAN MAN: Dies in Wednesday semi crash

October 18, 2012


COLUMBIA CITY — Authorities are investigating the cause of a fatal accident on U.S. 30 Wednesday morning.
James Priest, 37, of Bay City, Mich., was killed in a crash at the intersection of U.S. 30 and CR 300 E. after the truck he was driving hit the back of a stopped semi at approximately 9 a.m.
According to police, Priest, who was headed westbound, made little or no attempt to stop before hitting the semi in front of him, driven by Thomas Dye of West Virginia.
“There’s no evidence that he hit the brakes at all,” Whitley County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Marcus Gatton said.
Dye was transported to a Fort Wayne hospital with head and chest pain.
Parkview’s Samaritan helicopter was dispatched to the scene, but left with no patients, as Priest was pronounced dead at approximately 9:45 a.m.
According to Gatton, the front semi contained 79,000 pounds of silicone magnesium, while Priest’s trailer was empty.
Despite the weight difference, the wreckage slid an additional 30 feet from the point of impact.
Firemen from Columbia Township, Union Township and Columbia City spent two hours to extricate Priest from the cab of his semi.
The westbound lane of U.S. 30 was restricted for more than six hours as crews worked to clean up the scene.

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