Effort to remove trailer from I-81 median fails

December 21, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- An attempt Monday to remove a truck trailer that overturned along the northbound lanes of Interstate 81 near Spring Mills on Saturday was unsuccessful, officials said.

Traffic on northbound Interstate 81 was detoured off U.S. 11 about noon on Monday to allow crews to get to the container, which could not be moved because it was too heavy, according to West Virginia Division of Highways crew chief Mark Baker.

The tractor truck had already been hauled away, Baker said. He did not know the contents of the trailer.

Officials now are planning to return to the crash site about a half-mile north of Exit 20 to "off-load" the cargo so the trailer can be removed, Baker said.

Because of the snowstorm, the truck, owned by Color Me Gone Farms of Muldrow, Okla., was left in the median of the interstate where it wrecked, according to Baker and West Virginia State Police.


The driver, Billy Smith, 51, of Muldrow, Okla., was not injured, police said.

The accident shut down the interstate for more than two hours, according to a news release by State Police 1st Sgt. E.D. Burnett.

Troopers J.D. Schuessler and Z.L. Nine responded to investigate the tractor-trailer accident at 3:56 p.m., according to Burnett's release. 

Smith told police he attempted to slow down for traffic, lost control, ran off the road and the vehicle then overturned, according to the news release.

State police responded to 18 motor vehicle crashes in Berkeley County from Friday night to Sunday morning, seven of which occurred on Interstate 81, Burnett said in the news release. There were also a large number of disabled motorists on roadways due to the adverse weather conditions.


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