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Latrobe man injured in turnpike crash

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 7:30 a.m.

A Latrobe man was injured early Tuesday while sitting in a stopped Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission vehicle being used to direct traffic around another vehicle that had caught on fire.

The fire was reported about 9:45 p.m. Monday on the westbound side of the turnpike, officials said.

A turnpike service truck driven by Terry L. Donato, 57, responded to assist in diverting traffic around the fire. State police the truck had a warning sign attached to it alerting motorists to change lanes to avoid the disabled vehicle.

A tractor-trailer being driven by David C. Potts of Akron rear-ended Donato's truck at 12:20 a.m. Tuesday after the driver reached for a drink and took his eyes off of the road, police said. No age for Potts was available from authorities.

The impact caused both vehicles to catch on fire, police said. Potts, who had to be extricated from the cab after it separated from the trailer and overturned, sustained minor injuries.

Donato was transported to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown for treatment of moderate injuries, police said. He was not listed as a patient there Monday afternoon.

The highway originally was closed between Somerset and Donegal. Later, the closure expanded to include the highway between Breezewood and New Stanton. The road was reopened at 9:50 a.m.

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