Straps Corroded on Pennsylvania Turnpike Tunnel Conduit That Killed Truck Driver, NTSB Says

Howard Sexton died when a metal conduit slammed into the windshield of his big rig as he drove through the Pennsylvania Turnpike's Lehigh Tunnel in February

What to Know

  • An electrical conduit from the ceiling of the Lehigh Tunnel went through the windshield of southbound tractor trailer.
  • Troopers found the damaged big rig while investigating a series of minor crashes caused by the debris.
  • Howard Sexton of Mickleton, New Jersey, died from his injuries.

Federal investigators say steel straps holding electrical conduits to the ceiling of a Pennsylvania Turnpike tunnel had corroded before a portion of conduit crashed through the windshield of a tractor-trailer, killing the driver.

The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday issued a preliminary report on the Feb. 21 accident inside the Northeast Extension's Lehigh Tunnel, about 70 miles north of Philadelphia.

The report says a 2016 inspection had found the corrosion and that the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission was in the process of awarding a contract to replace the straps in the 4,379-foot tunnel when the accident happened.

Howard Sexton of Mickleton, New Jersey, was killed when the section of conduit struck him in the head. 

NBC10 / Family Photo
Howard Sexton died when a metal conduit struck his big rig as he drove through the Lehigh Tunnel on Feb. 21, 2018. See Larger Image

Sexton, who had grown children, had driven for Raymour & Flanigan for the past 19 years, his family said. He had planned on retiring this summer. The furniture company issued a statement saying Sexton was a "beloved member" of its South Jersey team.

The NTSB plans to identify a cause in its final report along with safety recommendations.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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