Sue Smith was jarred awake early Saturday morning by an explosion. Authorities think the blast was caused by an explosive device affixed to the top of one of the fuel tanks of her 1999 Kenworth. The truck was parked next to her husband's in front of their house. Smith and her husband, Mike, operate a hauling business called S&S Transportation.
The blast injured a friend who was in the sleeper resting before the early-morning trip on which she was going to ride along with Sue. The explosion caused heavy damage to the rig and sent shrapnel into a nearly Jeep Cherokee, her husband's truck, and their house about 30 feet away.
Phil Messer, police captain of Mansfield, OH, believes there is a strong possibility that the explosion is linked to labor strife at Mansfield's AK Steel. The company locked out 500 workers on Sept. 1 when their contract expired. The bombing at S&S follows mailbox bombings of several company officials. One on Saturday sent shrapnel several hundred yards. In addition, a trucking company near Van Wert, OH, was the target of a drive-by shooting Dec. 6. A threat had been phoned in earlier, warning the company to stop hauling for AK Steel.
Mark Robertson, president of the United Steelworkers local, decried the violence. "We ask that any violence stop," he said. "It is not helping our cause."
AK Steel has offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to a felony conviction of anyone responsible for bombings, attempted bombings or other acts of violence directed at its employees, property or suppliers.