Metal shards spread across I-77 still impacting drivers

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CLEVELAND — An accident that left dozens of vehicles disabled after a truck began spilling sharp pieces of metal across the highway Tuesday is still causing problems for drivers.

The accident is no longer impacting traffic but instead has left dozens of drivers dealing with the headaches of a flat tire.

Around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, an ODOT traffic camera captured images of a dump truck travelling north on Interstate 77, spilling sharp pieces of metal across the highway, beginning at Grant Avenue. The shards were spread all along the northbound lane of the interstate for a distance of more than a mile.

The Cleveland Division of Fire estimated about 100 cars were damaged.

Wednesday, James Murtha, who had  just put four new tires on his wife’s car about a month ago, is speaking out.

“She was behind the truck,” he said. “The tailgate on the truck was open this much, it wasn’t shut, and the scrap was flying out of it…So some other people receive damage and got in front of the truck and she got beside the truck and made the truck pull over.”

Patty Murtha was able to get her car home before the tires, which were riddled with pieces of metal, finally went flat. The Murtha’s say replacing the two rear tires on the car cost about $300, but for them it’s not just about the tires.

“She missed a day’s work over it,” James Murtha added. “We contacted the company, they told us contact the insurance company– which we did — and they said we’ve got to wait ’til the claim comes in. Well, she’s like got to get to work and right now we’ve got to pay for it out of pocket. We’re hoping the company reimburses us.”

The steel shards that caused the flat tires were pieces of scrap metal that were in the back of a dump truck driven by Paul Podgurski Jr.

Podgurski, who drives for NAT Services of Cleveland, was cited by the state patrol for failing to secure his load and for not having all of his license requirements up to date. Cleveland police also cited Pogursky.

Continuing coverage, here.

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