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VIDEO: Runaway semi crashes inches from gas pump

Posted at 1:02 PM, Jul 09, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-09 14:06:57-04

AKRON, Ohio (FOX8) — The spectacular crash of a semi-tractor trailer was captured on surveillance video taken by multiple cameras positioned at a Marathon Gas Station on Waterloo Road, just off Interstate 77 south, Thursday afternoon.

The semi could be seen racing down a freeway exit ramp while attempting to turn left onto Waterloo Road. Motorists parked on the ramp had no way of knowing the truck’s brakes had failed and the semi had become unstoppable.  Elvis Reyes Barceló, 35, of Houston, Texas, told police his load shifted as he tried to make a left turn, and the moving cargo caused the rig to roll onto its side. It can be seen on video sliding toward the Marathon’s gas pumps before a light pole stopped it from colliding with disaster.

Day manager Mary Lewis told Fox 8 News she didn’t know how to react when she heard the thunderous sound of the truck overturning in front of her station, across from the exit ramp. She was finishing up her shift when a loud noise shook the place. She can be seen on surveillance video running to hit a shut-off valve that prevents gas pumps from exploding. Her counterpart, who works the night shift, Rahif Faris, had the same instinct and ran for a shut-off valve closer to where he was standing.

“We heard, like, a big noise,” said Faris. “Almost felt like the roof came down.”

A passenger in a minivan parked at a nearby pump can be seen exiting her vehicle and running toward the semi despite fears the truck might explode. Sara Brown is seen on video tearing the shattered passenger window from the overturned truck.  A few seconds later, she helps the 37-year-old passenger, Dammars Domingus, of Houston, to climb out of the semi. The driver escaped on his own a few moments later.

Faris and Lewis credited the driver’s skill with preventing disaster; at the same time, they wondered out loud whether divine intervention might have played a role as they watched the videotaped semi maneuver between two parked cars before rolling onto its side.

No one was seriously hurt. An SUV parked at the light was damaged but its driver was OK.

“So, I think he did good job,” said Faris, “He avoid couple of cars, and nobody got hurt.”