Original story: wsoctv.com
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
portion of Interstate 77 was shut down for hours Friday after a
tractor-trailer crashed, spilling thousands of potatoes across the
highway. It is likely that a Charlotte truck accident lawyer will be contacted.
Channel 9 photographer was traveling behind the truck and witnessed the
crash around 2 a.m. in the southbound lanes of I-77 near West
The impact was so violent that the engine flew out of the big rig.
other drivers who were following the truck jumped out and rescued the
truck driver, who was rushed to Carolinas Medical Center. Officials said
he'd be OK.
“Maybe he fell sleep, and sadly hit the guard rail,” said rescuer Garrett Bonacci. “Thank the Lord he's all right.”
stopped immediately and saw a guy try to crawl out of the cab,” said
Grant Wales. “Saw a lot fire going on, so I ran to him. His leg was
pinned, tried pulling him out.”
The two rescuers and state troopers told Channel 9 that the driver said he fell asleep behind the wheel. A Charlotte trucking lawyer says that this unfortunately happens more than we would like to think.
No other vehicles were involved in crash, which damaged about 20 feet of guard rail and concrete barrier.
said the interstate would be closed through the morning rush hour while
crews worked to clean-up the 50,000 pounds of potatoes that scattered
for hundreds of yards across the road.
Some potatoes were soaked
in diesel fuel and clean-up crews had to separate the clean potatoes
from the one's contaminated with fuel and oil.
Thousands of clean potatoes were hauled into trucks to be taken to a landfill.
Shank, who is the president of Carolina Environmental, the company
called to help clean up, said it could take days before they decide what
to do with the potatoes mixed with fuel and oil.
had diesel fuel and oil petroleum products that are mixed with some of
the potatoes," he explained. "Some of the potatoes we had to either
clean or will be disclosed as off-spec food product food waste. It
sounds simple but we actually go through them (the potatoes) and see
where the diesel fuel stopped, and all the potatoes passed that are
Drivers were advised to take the following detour: From
I-77 south, take Exit 11 (I-277), follow I-277 and take exit 1-B to get
back on I-77 south.
Clean-up crews initially hoped to have one
lane open by 5 a.m. and all lanes open by 8 a.m. but DOT officials said
all the lanes would not reopen until at least noon.
The far left lane was reopened just before 8 a.m. and a second lane was reopened around 11:30 a.m.
All lanes were reopened around 4 p.m.
Highway Patrol has not identified that driver but said he is expected to recover.
Sgt. Jeff Nash said they will decide later if he will be charged. If a Charlotte truck crash lawyer is involved then charges were made.
“I'm sure you've got failure to maintain lane control. Why he ran off the roadway, we're still investigating that,” Nash said.