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Truck overturns

books collected by educators

July 25, 2000

Truck overturns; books collected by educators



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A truck driver's headache became a bonanza for local day care centers and schools Tuesday.

A tractor-trailer heading to a Tennessee recycling company with a load of unwanted books overturned on the Charles Town bypass Tuesday morning.

Instead of trying to recover all the books, the recycling company told police to notify local schools and day care centers that they could have some of the books.

Debbi White, director of the Jack and Jill child development center in Charles Town, estimates she gathered 2,000 books from the accident scene.

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She filled up a station wagon twice and a van once and took the books back to her day care center off Prospect Avenue in Charles Town.

White said it was ironic the accident happened because three months ago when she took over as director she commented on how the center needed more children's books.

"It's just a miracle this happened," White said.

The 1992 Freightliner tractor-trailer was attempting to turn from U.S. 340 onto the southbound lane of the bypass at about 10 a.m., said West Virginia State Police Trooper Richard Shockey.

Shockey said the truck tipped over as if it were in slow motion.

As William Bennett, 48, of Johnson City, Tenn., began negotiating a bend on the southbound entrance ramp, the 22,000 pounds of books inside began sliding to one side, forcing the truck to tip over, Shockey said.

The truck slid onto the bypass and blocked both southbound lanes, but police quickly reopened one lane to keep traffic from backing up, Shockey said.

Bennett was treated at Jefferson Memorial Hospital and released.

Several people from local schools and day care centers went to the scene to get books, Shockey said.

While local schools took some of the books, Courtney Wrecker Service scooped out the rest and took them back to its office in Bolivar, Shockey said.

Wrecking crews used an end-loader to drive into the back of the trailer and scoop out loads of the books, White said. "In between loads, we'd try to go in and get some kids' books," White said.

Shockey said he believes the truck driver had picked up the unwanted books from book outlets in Silver Spring and Westminster, Md. They were being taken to Profile Industries in Limestone, Tenn., Shockey said.

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