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Accident sends tractor trailer into woods below Janesville Pike

A Wednesday morning accident on Janesville Pike (Route 453) in Snyder Township sent 53-year old truck driver Robert Colyer of Philipsburg to the hospital after his rig went off the road and plummeted in the woods after crashing through a guard rail.
The incident occurred at 7 a.m. according to a release from the Hollidaysburg State Police barracks. Crews from Altoona Emergency (a towing company) were still on the scene late yesterday morning plotting strategy on how to bring the rig back up on the road to eventually be towed away.
Various sources reported numerous agencies were called to the scene including the Tyrone Fire Department along with Department of Environmental Protection officials from Altoona, the state police and PENNDOT.
Initial reports had some officials concerned about a possible diesel fuel spill but action by DEP officials took care of any potential problem.
“There was no spill,” said truck owner Tony Murarik.
The news regarding the environmental concerns was confirmed by a DEP official who arrived on the scene about 8:45 a.m.
“There was maybe a small fluid on the ground and nothing in the water near where the truck came to its rest” said a DEP inspector Robert Kachonik.
“Of course, you always fear the worst when you get these type of calls,” said Kachonik.
The inspector indicated the body of water near the accident scene is an unnamed tributary which flows into the reservoir. Kachonik explained how officials took action to prevent any problems.
“The diesel fuel was removed from the tanks by a clean-up contractor,” Kachonik told The Daily Herald. “I really can’t see any environmental problem developing from this incident.”
Environmental officials were on the scene for approximately three hours according to Kachonik. He indicated the driver of the tractor trailer had already been taken from the scene by the time he arrived. He also said the road was open at the time he arrived with traffic being directed around emergency vehicles on the scene.
The crash occurred when Colyer was operating a tri-axle tractor trailer southbound on Route 453 about a mile and a half north of Tyrone Borough according to the state police report. Colyer failed to negotiate a right curve on the road and traveled across the north side of the road onto the east berm. The truck struck the guide rail and then traveled down a steep embankment. The tractor trailer came to a rest on its left side about a hundred feet down the embankment.
Colyer apparently suffered serious injuries as a result of the accident.
“He was taken to Tyrone Hospital and then by helicopter to Altoona,” said Murarik.
PENNDOT arrived on the scene by late morning to prepare the erection of a temporary barrier on the north side of Route 453.
“We sent out a crew to survey the damage to the guide rail and put up a temporary barrier,” said Dennis Mahora of PENNDOT.
The assistant county manager said he had no estimate of damage to the guide rails at the time he was interviewed.
PENNDOT’s work would have to wait until towing crews were able to complete the complicated task of bringing the vehicle up from the wooded area below Janesville Pike. Towing crews were still surveying the situation just before noon on Wednesday before beginning their work.
The truck was owned by A. J. Murarik Trucking of Madera. Police described damage to the vehicle as severe. Colyer was listed in critical condition at Altoona Hospital this morning.