Accident stops traffic on I-70

Truck driver wary of future in business after being shaken
Sunday, January 29, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 6:52 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Saturday morning accident stopped traffic on eastbound Interstate 70 for about two hours.

A tractor-trailer owned by Ron Pickering Trucking Company of Hallstead, Pa., crashed into an abandoned car parked in the shoulder area encroaching into the road at 11:38 a.m., Columbia police Officer Steve Brown said.

Both Boone County and Columbia emergency vehicles responded to the accident.

“Everything but the helicopters and the Marines were here,” Brown said.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Raymond Osterhout, was unharmed. “I’m just shaken up a little bit,” he said. Osterhout said that when he crashed into the abandoned vehicle, he just “drove out the storm,” staying to the right lane and avoiding heavy traffic to the left.

Osterhout, who had just made a delivery on Friday, was heading to get another load when the accident happened.

Columbia Fire Department cleaned up gas that spilled onto the road from the crushed car.

“A lot of gasoline is loose,” Brown said.

Osterhout said this was his first accident in his 10 years of truck driving. He doubts that he’ll ever be able to drive a tractor-trailer again. “Something like this makes you sit back and count your blessings,” he said.

Osterhout said that the truck that he was driving was going to be given to him by his boss. “(It’s) amazing how something can be taken away from you,” he said. “This was supposed to have been my dream; now it’s not.”

According to the Improve I-70 project, conducted by the Missouri Department of Transportation, the 18-mile stretch of I-70 adjacent to Columbia is insufficient, because it carries volumes of traffic that exceed its capacity and has a higher crash rate than the statewide average.

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