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Truck driver struck and killed while walking in highway travel lane

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 7:06 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 5, 2021 at 6:08 PM EDT
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HARTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - The driver of a tractor-trailer was killed in a crash on Interstate 91 in Hartland Monday morning, and police say he was out of his truck and in the roadway when it happened.

Police say Gary Starr, 66, of Jay, pulled over his big rig and was out of his vehicle on I-91 in Hartland when he was hit by a car.

The gruesome crash closed the interstate for more than five hours.

“The call came in at 5:50 a.m. reporting that a pedestrian had been struck,” said Adam Silverman, a spokesman for the Vermont State Police.

The trucker was struck, by a car driven by Tristan Blanchard, 35, of North Springfield. The Dodge Dart was loaded onto a flatbed trailer late Monday morning. Even from a distance, damage to the vehicle was noticeable.

Police say Blanchard was driving southbound before sunrise when he hit Starr, who had exited his truck.

“Had deployed at least a couple traffic triangles behind the truck which is common practice. The truck also had its flashers on,” Silverman said.

Starr was pronounced dead at the scene.

Blanchard was not injured in the crash. He told police he attempted to avoid the collision.

“The presence of a pedestrian in the roadway, on the interstate, is unexpected,” Silverman said.

At this time, we do not know what type of mechanical trouble Starr was experiencing. We also do not know why he was walking on the interstate.

“It appears the crash occurred entirely within the lane of travel rather than in any way on the shoulder. So at this point in time, there are no charges that are expected,” Silverman said.

Anyone who may have witnessed the crash, or saw the truck pulled over, is asked to call state police at the barracks in Royalton at 802-234-9933.

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