HOWARD — The infamous Engel’s Curve, between Howard and Millwood on U.S. 36, claimed another truck Monday at 8:31 a.m. The truck was loaded with a 97,000-horsepower unit being shipped by Rolls-Royce. The crash happened when the eastbound truck started uphill around the left curve and linkage between the truck and trailer broke apart.
The trailer, with the Rolls-Royce unit, slid 100 feet straight off the right side of the road and plowed into the embankment. The impact shifted the unit forward and slightly off the right side of the trailer.
The unit was bound for Philadelphia for shipment to Thailand. It will be used to pump natural gas from offshore. Rolls-Royce project manager Ernie Pido said a jet engine drives the unit that in turn drives the gas compressor. Neither were in the package on the truck.
The truck is owned by KNX Inc. of Hanby, Pa., and has several axles designed to carry very heavy loads. The driver, Lew Bandle, 64, of Allentown, Pa., said he has driven trucks hauling heavy equipment for 38 years without an accident. The cause of the accident is still under investigation but preliminary investigation centered on a coupling where heavy bolts may have sheared off separating the truck and trailer.
To recover the power unit, American Crane from Columbus brought in a rig with a capacity of 150 tons. But before they could set up, an American Electric Power Ohio crew had to denergize a power line overhead and cut the line.
An Embarq cable was also in the way and had to be cut. The setup of the crane took several hours. The crane had to be leveled on the downhill slope and braced to lift the load.
Another truck was brought in for the transfer which was completed just before dark. The power unit was returned to the Mount Vernon plant to be checked for damage and any repair. The AEP power crew replaced the line and said only a few customers were affected by the power outage.
Embarq said they would replace their cable today.
After the crane was taken down, a Blubaugh Body and Frame wrecker removed the damaged trailer. The work lasted until late into the evening before U.S. 36 could be reopened. ODOT crews redirected traffic from Howard and Millwood.