The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission said Monday it is cooperating with federal officials in an investigation into the death last week of a trucker from Gloucester County who was hit by a falling electrical conduit in the Lehigh Tunnel.

Turnpike CEO Mark P. Compton said the commission is as interested as the National Transportation Safety Board in finding out what led to the death Wednesday night of Howard M. Sexton III, 70, of Mickleton, N.J.

"We are eager to understand exactly what caused this tragedy so we can work to ensure it doesn't happen again," Compton said. "We will continue to cooperate fully with NTSB personnel throughout their investigation."

The investigation probably will be completed by Wednesday, and a preliminary report could be done in two to four weeks, he said. The final report, with recommendations, could take a year.

The electrical conduit fell from the tunnel ceiling about 6:03 p.m. Wednesday. State police said several vehicles then ran into the conduit, but Sexton was the only driver injured.

Emergency workers found Sexton in his truck on the Turnpike shoulder about 8:50 p.m. An autopsy Friday by the Lehigh County coroner's office found he died of blunt force head injuries after he was hit by the conduit.

The Lehigh Tunnel is two side-by-side tunnels, one each for northbound and southbound traffic. Built in 1991, it is the newest of the Turnpike system's five tunnels.

Sexton was a truck driver 20 years for Raymour & Flanigan. A memorial service for him is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Davis & Wagner Funeral Home in Woodbury.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission said Monday it is cooperating with federal officials in an investigation into the death last week of a trucker who was hit by a falling electrical conduit in the Lehigh Tunnel.

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