Local News

Downed Cable On Road Causes Traffic Tie-Up On Westbound I-40

Posted June 3, 2003

— A downed power line caused major traffic tie-ups on westbound Interstate 40 Monday and led to an accident involving a Highway Patrolman.

Investigators said Blaine Lucas of McelHenry Homes in Durham was travelling on eastbound Interstate 40 to take a manufactured house to a location near the RDU International. Troopers said the load was too high when it clipped a telephone line hanging over the interstate.

"They take the chance to not conform to the law because 95 percent of the time they're going to get away with it, but in the one situation, it could have cost this one trooper his life," said Sgt. Everett Clendenin, of the state Highway Patrol.

When the cable fell, Perry, who was on a patrol motorcycle, tried to avoid the drooping line on the westbound side. He skidded his bike to the pavement and limped out of the way of speeding traffic.

The telephone line missed another trooper, but seven cars were damaged. Investigators first had to rule out whether they were dealing with a live power line and then they had to reconstruct the crash scene.

Authorities closed two westbound lanes on Interstate 40, which led to traffic tie-ups along the roadway.

Authorities said Perry suffered minor injuries. He was taken to Duke Medical Center as a precaution.

The truck driver faces a criminal charge for hauling a load that exceeds the height limit. The height restriction for trucks in North Carolina is 13 feet 6 inches. The truck that caused the problems Monday exceeded the limit by a foot and a half.

Officials said the company has a blanket permit for carrying the homes, but not on that truck.

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