Update: Kent man killed in I-76 accident this morning

By Jeremy Nobile | Staff Writer Published:

Updated at 2:52 p.m.

Lt. Ron Williams, public information officer for the Tallmadge Police Department, identified the victim of the crash as William Roak Zeller, 42, of Kent.

The accident happened around 7:47 a.m. on Interstate 76 near the Southeast Avenue overpass in Tallmadge. Williams said Zeller was approaching congested traffic caused by a separate accident in Akron and was slowing down when he was struck from behind by a semi-truck.

Williams said Zeller was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. The truck driver suffered minor injuries and was taken to a local hospital.

No other injuries were reported.

No charges have been filed against the truck driver.

Updated at 11:21 a.m.

Gary Guenther, chief investigator with the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office, said the individual killed in the Interstate 76 accident this morning is a 42-year-old Kent man.

His name is being withheld until family members are notified.

Guenther said preliminary information indicates the man was stopped for traffic on the highway when a semi truck struck him from behind.

“Apparently he was westbound on 76. He slowed down for traffic that was slowing down in front of him, and a semi-tractor trailer was behind him and wasn’t able to stop,” Guenther said.

 

Updated at 10:36 a.m.

Interstate 76 westbound has reopened after a traffic accident with at least one confirmed fatality.

The ramp between S.R. 532 to I-76 westbound will remain closed until about 11 a.m.

Justin Chesnic, Ohio Department of Transportation District 4 public information officer, said the highway was shut down between the Portage and Summit County lines a little after 8 a.m. Friday morning and will remain closed "for awhile."

He said there's at least one confirmed death from an accident involving a semi truck and an SUV.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol and Tallmadge Police are handling the accident.

Stay tuned to www.recordpub.com for updates.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1126 or jnobile@recordpub.com

Facebook: Jeremy Nobile, Record-Courier

Twitter: @jnobile_RPC

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  • Roak was a true gentleman in every sense of the word. We did not see eye to eye politically, me being a liberal and he being a conservative, but nonetheless, he was always pleasant to talk to and always willing to entertain an opposing viewpoint without being disagreeable about it. I could see great things in this young man's future, and that he won't live to achieve them is doubly sad. I grieve with his friends and family for the loss of someone with such a bright future ahead. To his family, I share your sorrow, having lost my father at a very young age to a car accident. But know that Roak, in his short time on this earth, made a lasting impact that will be remembered. I will miss seeing him at various local functions, talking to him over a cup of coffee and feeling his firm handshake when we were done. Roak, yours was a life well lived. Your journey is over, your life is done, but memories of your life will not fade as you left a lasting impact on everyone who met you. Rest well, young man. We will miss you, and our area is the poorer for your leaving us too soon. 

  • My heart goes out to this man's family. His name is not released yet, but I am so sad for his parents, siblings, wife and children (if any). We lost my brother the same way 4 years ago in September. He was stopped at a light on a highway, semi driver only got 60 days in jail, said he was looking at a map. Semi accidents must stop; it is horrible and happening too often. A simple fender bender with as semi often leads to death of the other driver and passengers. Truck drivers stay up for long hours and can get distracted, but are driving an incredibly heavy machine which is no match for any car or SUV. Again, so sorry for family and I hope that you have people around you to help you get through this awful time.