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Coroner: Heart attack caused crash

August 22, 2012
Staff Reports , Salem News

AUSTINTOWN - Authorities believe a truck driver suffered a heart attack prior to a crash on state Route 11 here last week.

According to the Journal's news partner, WKBN FirstNews, the Mahoning County coroner has issued a preliminary cause of death for Roger Watkins, 55, of Youngstown, saying both his death and resulting accident were cardiovascular in nature.

Watkins, was driving his tractor-trailer southbound on Route 11 south of the Austintown exit at about 5 a.m. Friday when he rig went off the right side of the road and traveled several hundred feet before running into a pillar on the Kirk Road overpass. The truck ended up wedged against the bridge support.

WKBN quoted the coroner's office as saying Watkins likely had a heart attack prior to the accident. The coroner noted Watkins had minimal injuries, WKBN said, and nothing suggested drugs or alcohol were involved.

The accident remains under investigation by the highway patrol and coroner's office. A final ruling on the cause of death will be made after toxicology results are complete, which could take up to eight weeks, WKBN said.

Watkins was driving for R&L Carriers, based in Columbiana.



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