An overturned semi truck carrying fuel shut down traffic on I-75 in Butler County, Ohio, on January 10. The accident ultimately closed down the entire southbound highway for a full five hours, causing massive delays and traffic jams before the situation was resolved and the highway reopened.
According to police, the accident occurred around 10 a.m. near exit 129. A car traveling ahead of the semi swerved to avoid a box in the middle of the road. The semi driver swerved to avoid hitting the car, and lost control of his vehicle. The truck ultimately overturned, spilling approximately 2,000 gallons of its 5,000-gallon fuel cargo onto the roadway. Astonishingly, the fuel did not explode or ignite.
Investigators reported that disaster crews responded immediately, bringing in loads of dirt and sand. The fuel had begun to spread quickly across the road, pouring into the drainage system and over the asphalt. The dirt and sand was poured onto the mess in an effort to keep it from spreading further, and is credited with helping prevent the fuel from lighting up and causing a much greater disaster.
Both the driver of the car and the driver of the semi were taken to nearby hospitals, though their injuries are reported as serious but non-life-threatening. The highway ultimately was reopened around 3 p.m. the same day, despite initial estimates that it would remain closed until 6 p.m.
“This doesn’t happened very often where we have to shut down the entire southbound lane,” said a police representative.
The traffic jam lasted even after the highway was reopened, though authorities did their best to reroute traffic to alternative routes off the interstate. The damage isn’t completely cleaned up, either. Environmental response crews will be revisiting the site for several weeks as they dig out and replace the soil that was contaminated by the spill.