A large truck slammed into a pedway Friday at Eastern Kentucky University, causing significant structural damage, a school official said.
No injuries were reported after the 2006 Peterbilt truck, with an upright hydraulic hoist, crashed into the pedway shortly before noon, causing debris to fall onto the street below.
The driver of the truck was Randall Smith from Clay City, said commercial vehicle enforcement officer Dennis Johnson in a news release. The truck belonged to Rock Trucking LLC in Clay City.
The pedway, which opened in 2013 and spans Lancaster Avenue, is used by hundreds of students to walk between campus and the Grand Campus Apartments. No students were on the pedway at the time.
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“For that, we are most thankful,” said EKU President Michael Benson in a statement.
Richmond police sent out a tweet Friday afternoon saying that the pedway will be demolished. Lancaster Avenue would be closed for about three weeks between Barnes Mill Road and Crabbe Street, the university said in a news release Friday evening. Bryan Makinen, EKU’s executive director of public safety and risk management, clarified that the entire pedway won’t be torn down, but the damaged portions will be removed. There was “significant structural damage” to the pedway, he said.
The truck, which is used to pick up and drop off solid-waste bins, had dropped off a bin shortly before the crash, Makinen said. There was no immediate explanation why the hoist was left in an upright position.
Smith was not hurt, nor were the occupants of an SUV traveling away from downtown, Makinen said. Some debris fell onto and damaged the rear top of the SUV, he said.
The truck had been headed toward downtown Richmond.
The upright hoist crashed into a structural support beam on the north side of the pedway. There appeared to be some cracks in the concrete support structure.
“The support beams did separate away, causing the floor to have a catastrophic failure,” Makinen said.
The truck will be removed once engineers say it’s safe to do so.
Kentucky State Police vehicle enforcement officers, Richmond police and officers with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office were at the scene.
Motorists were advised to avoid Lancaster Avenue between the Eastern Bypass and Crabbe Street until further notice.
Students will be asked to use crosswalks at Barnes Mill Road and Crabbe Street to cross Lancaster Avenue.
Several students gathered to look at the damage. Dylan Hunt, 18, a freshman from Nicholas County, said he was in the Combs Building on campus when he heard a loud noise.
“I thought it was thunder,” Hunt said. “I looked out the window to see if there were clouds.”
It wasn’t until later that he heard that the pedway had partially collapsed.
Hunt said he is majoring in fire, arson and explosive investigations. Hunt said it “was definitely a learning experience.”