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Reckless driving caused Wednesday’s tractor trailer rollover crash that shut down I-91 in Meriden, state police say

Hartford Courant logo Hartford Courant 9/16/2021 Christine Dempsey, Hartford Courant

A Colchester man’s reckless driving caused a Wednesday morning crash that forced two tractor trailers off I-91 in Meriden, toppling one and injuring their drivers, state police said.

In addition to reckless driving, Eric Ploof, 43, of Bull Hill Road was given a ticket for failure to maintain a proper lane and improper passing, they said.

The highway was shut down about five hours. All three drivers had minor injuries, state police said.

The crash happened in the south lanes at 7:40 a.m., near Exit 17. Juselino A. Rodrigues, 54, of Pepperell, Mass. was driving a rig in the left lane, and John Sullivan, 45, of Queens, N.Y. was driving a tractor trailer in the center lane, police said.

Ploof was driving a 2014 Toyota Camry erratically in the right lane, weaving in and out of traffic, state police said, when he cut off Sullivan, striking the truck’s right, front tire with the back of his car. The impact caused Sullivan’s tractor trailer to veer to the left, where it struck Rodrigues’ truck.

Sullivan’s rig came back to the right and began to jackknife. It hit the car and dragged it off the right side of the road through the guardrail, police said.

The other tractor trailer was knocked to the left into the guardrail and rolled over onto its driver’s side, state police said. Rodrigues had to climb out the passenger-side window to safety.

Ploof could not be reached for comment Thursday morning.

Christine Dempsey may be reached at cdempsey@courant.com.

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