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Truck filled with hams crashes and burns on I-81

January 24, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

FALLING WATERS, W.Va. - A tractor-trailer involved in a single-vehicle wreck Thursday on Interstate 81 was destroyed by fire after it hit a concrete barrier, turned onto its side and slid about 100 yards, according to police.

The driver, Roger Lewis, 45, of Forest City, Ark., was taken to City Hospital for minor injuries. A female passenger escaped unharmed, police said.

The wreck happened at around 5 a.m. at exit 20 as Lewis headed north, driving a 2001 Freightliner carrying ham. Lewis ran off the road and hit a concrete barrier to his right, said Lt. Dennis Streets of the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department.

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After hitting the barrier, Lewis lost control of the rig, which turned onto the driver's side and slid forward, Streets said.

The truck's fuel tanks ruptured on impact, Streets said. Both the truck and trailer were destroyed.

A passing motorist, Inwood, W.Va., resident Michael Young, stopped and used a fire extinguisher to try to put out the flames. He helped Lewis and Lewis' passenger get out of the cab, Streets said.

Interstate 81 was shut down for several hours, but traffic was diverted up the exit 20 off-ramp and then back onto the highway a short distance later, Streets said.

Nearly every deputy working at the time, along with some reserve deputies, took turns diverting traffic because of the extreme cold, Streets said.

Deputy Will Henderson was investigating the wreck.

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