Local News

US 501 Reopened in Durham

Posted July 26, 1998

— Two accidents in Durham, one of them fatal, made commuting a challenge for motorists this morning. For a while, US 501 was closed near Snow Hill Road but was reopened about 10 a.m. Then, on the 501 detour, a cement truck failed to negotiate a turn near South Lowell Drive and Hopkins Road, causing yet another traffic back-up.

Law officers said 19-year-old Crystal Thomas of Oxford turned in front of a gasoline tanker truck, causing the tanker to overturn. Thomas' car was crushed in the wreck, and she died. The tanker driver was unhurt.

The tanker, an Eagle Transport truck headed to South Boston, Va., was carrying 3,000 gallons of gasoline. A rupture caused by the wreck led gas to flow into a nearby creek that feeds the Eno River.

Environmental officials were called in to monitor the spill. Foam was applied to keep the vapors down.

Meanwhile, the cement truck taking the detour around the first accident had trouble with a turn and landed on its side, causing further delays -- and leading the highway patrol to set up a detour of a detour.

EPA believes it has contained the spill into the creek. A private environmental clean up company is offloading some of the spill, taking loads away.


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