Crushed apples and metal debris across the Ohio Turnpike marked the spot where a semitrailer crashed Saturday night, killing the driver and his two children.
Dwayne Snyder, 33, of Rebersburg, Pa., and his boys -- Chadwin Snyder, 10, and Derrick S. Snyder, 3 -- were killed after the tractor-trailer went off the right side of the highway, smashed into a bridge and became wedged under an overpass.
The semi belonged to Snyder and was hauling boxes of apples.
The damage to the vehicle was so extensive authorities had to use hydraulic tools to pry open the cab and retrieve the bodies of Dwayne and Derrick, said Sgt. Darren Thomas, with the Milan Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The oldest son was ejected from the vehicle during the crash and was thrown over the bridge.
The accident occurred at about 9:55 p.m. Saturday on the Ohio Turnpike at the Erie-Sandusky county line, authorities said.
Snyder was traveling eastbound on the highway when his truck went off the right side of the road, clipped a sign, drove down through a ditch and up an embankment and struck the bridge, Thomas said. The 2003 Kenworth conventional semitrailer came to a rest next to a green highway sign saying "Entering Erie County."
The truck caused enough damage to the Southwest Road bridge that the overpass remained closed Sunday. Much of the semi became mangled, broke apart and ended up littered on Southwest Road. Engineers are expected to examine the overpass early this week to determine if it is structurally safe to reopen.
While authorities do not know what caused the accident, witnesses said the truck drifted off a straight and flat section of highway.
"One witness ... said he thought the truck was pulling off to the side of the road and then it just continued off the side of the road, down into the ditch area and until he struck the bridge," Thomas said.
Authorities are investigating the accident and say many specifics are not yet known. The damage was so severe investigators cannot say if Snyder or his passengers were wearing seat belts or even where the young boys were sitting in the vehicle.
Snyder was married, and his wife was notified of the accident by Pennsylvania State Police.