ATLAS — A dump truck filled with coal dust crashed through a service station, over an embankment and landed atop a minivan, one of six vehicles damaged Wednesday, after its driver said he failed to downshift.
Andy Youngs and Ed Greco can remember only brief scenes from the split-second morning crash at Greco’s Service near Mount Carmel.
Each was standing at the store’s counter when the truck barreled across Route 61, hit parked cars, tipped over an embankment and stopped in the service garage’s lower parking lot.
“It just sounded like a bomb went off,” Youngs said. “I started praying. That’s about all you can do.”
Added Greco: “It happened so fast,” Greco said.
The truck driver, Ronald M. Dowd, 44, of Drums, told police he missed a gear shift as he was preparing to slow down along Mid Valley Road near the intersection with Route 61, said Mount Carmel Township officer Dan Politza.
The truck then slammed into Greco’s, tipping and spilling its contents and leaving the shop littered with coal dust and broken glass.
Dowd was taken to a hospital to be treated for facial cuts and back pain, Politza said.
No one was seriously injured during the incident.
Lori Knopp, of Mount Carmel, stood near the accident scene in shock. Her van — bought about six months ago — was crushed under the front of the dump truck.
She had just dropped it off about 30 minutes earlier, she said.
“I heard it on the scanner at my daughter’s house, but then Mr. Greco called me and said, ‘There’s been an accident,’” she said. “I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’”
Knopp said she has insurance, but wasn’t sure what her options were going to be.
“I’ve had it for less than six months,” she said. “I still have $4,000 left on it.”
This isn’t the first time a vehicle has missed a turn and plowed into the building, Greco said.
“We had a guy come flying around here about 20 years ago,” he said.
Greco said the shop will try to remain open during the cleanup.
“We’re going to try to work around it,” he said,
Traffic on Route 61 was detoured around the accident scene for several hours midday Wednesday as crews worked at the scene.