Investigating officers were unable to ascertain why a truck driver coming off Interstate 80 westbound toward 251 continued across the state highway, through the guardrail, down an embankment and crashed into a grassy area behind Arby’s inPeruon Thursday.
Peru police officer David Damron said fortunately there was a green light facing the semi driver — and therefore no cars and trucks in the intersection — when he crossed the four-lane Route 251 at 6:24 p.m. and surprised the staff and diners at the roast beef restaurant.
“Everybody’s fine. There were no injuries,” Damron said, adding that the truck passed between two trees as it proceeded to the grassy flat spot.
Police weren’t sure if there was a medical reason for the accident, and Damron said the driver, Assat Skakir, 60, of Philadelphia, Pa., said he didn’t remember it happening. Shakir received a ticket for improper lane usage, Damron said.
Damron said the refrigeration truck didn’t spill its cargo, and other than the guardrail and the big divot in the soil, there wasn’t all that much damage.
Scholle’s towing of Peru had the truck out within two hours.
Tricia Tedeschi of La Salle was eating at Arby’s when she heard the crash and the metal.
She and her daughter, Kristin Hoff, went out to check on the driver. Tricia’s husband, Walter Glasper, pulled the driver out because she thought she smelled fuel or a chemical and didn’t want to leave the man in the cab.
Shakir was unresponsive, wearing a seat belt and his hands were tightly gripping the steering wheel when they found him.
“After we got him out and laid him down, he started to come to,” Tedeschi said. Two motorists were in front of the truck as the light turned green and one turned right and the other left, and the truck passed in between.
“It was definitely a count-your-blessings kind of thing,” Tedeschi said, adding that there were three small children in one of the vehicles.