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Truck driver sacrifices himself to steer out-of-control rig through traffic

3:06 PM, Jul 6, 2012   |    comments
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WKYC - An Ohio trucker is being called a hero after weaving his out-of-control rig through a busy intersection.

He avoided crashing into a shopping center and what could have been a horrific ending, but in doing so, he lost his own life.

The truck landed upside down in the Cuyahoga River.

Chris Burgess, the driver, seemed to have aimed for the spot so he would not hit any people, cars, or businesses.

"He definitely sacrificed his safety for the safety of everyone else who was around here," said crash witness Karla Maple.

Burgess lost his brakes coming down Portage Trail and headed straight for the Valley Center Plaza.

Trista Merendino was in the intersection with her two kids in the car, heard the truck horn blaring, and stopped just a second before the 15-ton dump truck blew through.

"As I seen him go through the intersection, he's just going like this. He's trying to control the truck and at the same time being so frantic. He looked so helpless," Merendino said.

Margaret Paulin was in her dry cleaning business, dead in the path of the truck she said was going 100 miles an hour.

"He truly sacrificed himself to keep from hitting anybody," Paulin said. "Because there were so many cars in this lot at the time he came through here, I can't believe he missed them."

By swerving left at the last moment before the shopping center, Burgess headed for a huge tree, which he hit.

It shattered his cab, and threw the massive truck into the river.

He never had a chance, and he seemed to know it.

"You could just tell even though he was helpless and did not have control, he did not want to harm anyone," Merendino said.

WKYC

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