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Semi driver dies of heart attack after crashing into pick-up in Cloverdale

Friday, November 9, 2012

CLOVERDALE -- A semi-driver with apparent health problems died Wednesday afternoon after his semi struck a parked pick-up truck near the Cloverdale Truck Stop on U.S. 231.

The call came in to central dispatch at 2:56 p.m. stating that a semi-truck ran into a building and vehicle.

It was later found that the driver of the semi-truck, Jerry L. Tunnell, 53, of Rocky Face, Ga., had unknown medical problems.

"He came down the hill from the northwest part of the parking lot and struck a parked pick-up truck that belonged to one of the workers of the truck repair shop," Charlie Hallam of the Cloverdale Police Department explained.

"The semi-truck pushed the pick-up truck until it was wedged up against a dumpster, which is eventually what stopped it."

Tunnell had just picked up a brand new trailer from Great Dane in Brazil. He was en route to North Carolina at the time.

Originally, workers at the truck repair shop thought nobody was in the truck, but after a closer look it was revealed that Tunnell was slumped over the wheel in the driver's seat.

"He was out of his seat and slumped between the driver's seat and the passenger seat into the back part of his sleeper cab," Hallam said. "He was breathing and conscious at the time, but he wasn't able to say too much."

Tunnell ended up going into cardiac arrest and later died. He was then taken to Terre Haute Regional Hospital, where he underwent an autopsy by Dr. Roland Kohr. It was later confirmed by Putnam County Coroner Thomas Miller that Tunnell later passed away due to a massive heart attack.

The pick-up truck suffered the most damage, which is estimated at $5,000-$10,000. The semi-truck was said to only have damage to the side rail and front bumper. Total damage to both vehicles is estimated at $15,000.

Assisting the Clover-dale Police Department were the Cloverdale Township Fire Department and Operation Life.

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