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Car, tri-axle truck crash shuts down Route 30; 1 dead

| Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, 9:52 a.m.
Firefighters work the scene of a fatal accident at the intersection of Route 30 and Possum Hollow Road in Hempfield on December 20, 2012. Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
Rescue workers and Pennsylvania State Police troopers work the scene of a fatal accident at the intersection of Route 30 and Possum Hollow Road in Hempfield on December 20, 2012. Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
The tri-axle dump truck, driven by David Trueman, 66, of Jeannette, caught fire. Trueman was able to escape without injury. Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review

A Hempfield man died Thursday morning in a violent, head-on collision with a tri-axle truck along Route 30 in the township's Lincoln Heights section, closing all lanes of the highway for about three hours.

Jeffery W. Horner Jr., 22, of Wendel Road, died of multiple blunt-force injuries he sustained in the 9:18 a.m. accident, the Westmoreland County Coroner's Office reported.

Horner was driving a Chevrolet Cavalier east on Route 30 at a high rate of speed when he crossed the centerline at the intersection of Possum Hollow Road, striking a westbound tri-axle dump truck, the coroner's office and state police said.

High Park Volunteer fire Chief John Howell said the impact tore open the vehicle's driver side, and Horner was ejected.

Horner, who was not wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The truck's fuel tank was torn open from the impact, leaking diesel fuel that caught the truck on fire, Howell said.

The truck driver, David Trueman, 66, of Jeannette, escaped without injury.

Officials needed to close the highway for about three hours after the accident so crews could clean up the wreckage and about 100 gallons of diesel fuel that spilled, Howell said.

Employees of King's Family Restaurant at Willow Crossing in Hempfield were mourning the loss of Horner, a grill cook who had worked there since October.

“He was an awesome worker, just would do anything he was asked,” said manager Valerie John. “An all-around nice guy, and we're just so beside ourselves.”

Jennifer Reeger is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6155 or jreeger@tribweb.com.

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