HARRISBURG, Pa. — Federal investigators are looking into the death last week of a truck driver killed when a section of electrical conduit fell through his windshield.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission said Monday the National Transportation Safety Board expects to finish its inspection Wednesday and may issue a preliminary report within about a month.
State police say the driver was killed February 21 when the section of conduit struck him in the head while he was driving through the turnpike's Lehigh Tunnel near Slatington.
A coroner has described the conduit as a large pipe and said it damaged other vehicles.
The Lehigh County coroner identified the truck driver as Howard Sexton, 70, of Mickleton, New Jersey.
After the conduit struck Sexton, the truck apparently coasted to a stop after riding along the guardrail, Sexton's wife of 25 years, Michelle, and other family members said. The coroner told the family it appeared Sexton died instantly.
Sexton’s wife became suspicious when her husband didn’t call the night of the accident to see how her day went. East Greenwich, New Jersey, police had to deliver the tragic news later that night.
Sexton, who has grown children, had driven for Raymour & Flanigan Furniture Co. for the past 19 years, his family said. He had planned on retiring this summer.
The furniture company, which has stores in several Northeastern states, issued a statement Thursday evening, saying Sexton was a “beloved member” of its Southern New Jersey team. “He will be missed terribly,” the statement read.
Initial police activity focused on other vehicles in the tunnel that sustained only minor damages.
Sexton's body and his truck were not found for about three hours after Raymour & Flanigan officials requested a welfare check.
The turnpike authority said the tunnel was last inspected in September 2016. It would not say if there had been any recent work done in or around the area where the materials fell.
Officials say the Lehigh Tunnel's southbound side is the only tunnel in the turnpike system that has electrical conduit directly above drivers, rather than in a parallel tunnel.