Westbound I-40 Back To Normal After Orange Co. Tractor-Trailer Wreck
Posted March 31, 2004
ORANGE COUNTY, N.C. — Interstate 40 near the Interstate 85 split is open to traffic again. The roadway was down to one lane for nearly 10 hours after a tractor-trailer overturned in Orange County early Wednesday morning.
The Highway Patrol is investigating conflicting accounts of what happened before the tractor-trailer struck a guardrail, taking a large section with it before rolling over and coming to a stop just after 6 a.m.
"The witness says [the driver] had been weaving in [the driver's] lane for about 10 miles and then said as [the driver] began to came up the grade, ran off the road gradually to the right, then all of a sudden jerked the vehicle back into the roadway," Trooper T.J. Wright said. "Upon talking to the driver, the driver said that maybe her right front tire had blown out."
The Highway Patrol says the driver of the tractor-trailer, 37-year-old Victoria Zepeda, of Mount Airy, will be charged with reckless driving.
The truck was transporting cylinder heads for diesel engines. Dozens of the cylinder heads, weighing about 100 pounds each, fell out of the truck as it overturned.
A small diesel fuel spill was contained. Despite the wreck taking nearly 10 hours to clear, troopers said the clean-up effort was slow in the name of safety.
"We apologize for the delay, but we do the best that we can," Wright said.
Zepeda was transported to Alamance Regional Hospital for observation. A passenger was not injured. No other vehicles were involved.
The Highway Patrol had to close exits 261 through 259 and motorists had to be detoured. The road reopened fully to traffic around 4 p.m.