U.S. Route 60 was shut down near Mesa, Arizona, when a semi truck flipped over, the accident resulting in the death of the truck driver.
According to officers sent to investigate the scene, the trucking accident happened near 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday the 28th, in the middle of the area’s rush hour traffic. Robert Bailey, a spokesperson for the DPS, said that the truck had apparently gone out of control, rear ending several vehicles before flipping over near the exit to Dobson.
Both directions of the highway were closed as a result of the accident at the McClintock and Country Club exits off the highway, with traffic backing up for several miles in each direction.
The truck’s driver had to be removed from the cab with equipment, and was rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition. Sadly, he later died there as a result of his extensive injuries.
This was not the only danger, however. The truck was carrying compressed oxygen tanks, a serious risk for everyone in the nearby area. Compressed oxygen is known to be an explosive hazard, and oxygen is a primary fuel for fire as well.
“We want to make sure we have everything controlled as far as no tanks are exposing chemicals, identifying those chemicals, and at that point allowing DPS to come in and clean up and then move on,” Mesa fire department Captain Robert Smith commented.
The traffic jam that resulted from the accident lasted about an hour and a half, though traffic was still slow in the area for some time after that as well. Under the supervision of local police, some motorists were allowed to turn around and drive the wrong way down the freeway in order to alleviate congestion and allow people to get home.
The eastbound lanes of the highway were finally opened around 9:30 p.m., four hours after the initial accident.