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Traffic moving again on I-40 after suspicious object removed

Posted June 30, 2010
Updated July 1, 2010

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— Traffic was moving again on Interstate 40 in the area of Fayetteville Road in Durham after a suspicious object was removed Wednesday evening, authorities said.

Police shut down the interstate in both directions for more than three hours after a passerby called 911 saying a bomb was spotted in the vicinity. A suspicious object – which appeared to be three PVC pipes wrapped in tape – could be seen near the concrete barrier in the westbound lanes on I-40.

"At that point we called the sheriff's department (and) the Highway Patrol to assist us and to investigate to help us determine exactly what we have got," spokeswoman Kammie Michael said.

At about 7:15 p.m., a motorized robot sprayed high-pressure water on the object before removing it from the interstate.

"The device turned out to not be an explosive device.  It appears to be some foam that was wrapped up together, possibly something that fell off of a vehicle or something," D.C. Allen of the Durham Police Department said during a news conference.

Allen said the suspicious object was reported by someone with prior military training.

"You can not get that kind of information and not act upon it," he said.

Billy Prickett, of Wilson, said he called the Highway Patrol about the same object Tuesday but didn’t get a response.

"It really did look like maybe an explosive or something like that,” he said.

Prickett travels I-40 a lot for his job and was among the people stuck in rush-hour traffic Wednesday after authorities shut down the interstate at about 4:30 p.m.

"It (the object) didn't seem like much of an issue until today,” Prickett said.

I-40 in Durham reopened after suspicious object halts traffic I-40 in Durham reopened after suspicious object halts traffic

Authorities also closed areas of Fayetteville Road near The Streets at Southpoint.

"It (traffic) is completely stopped and they are making people get off the highway,” motorist Gus Wilson said while waiting in traffic.

Motorist Natalie Mials said she tried to avoid I-40 and take detours but "everything was getting really backed up (and) each way you went, you were stuck."

Allen said from a police standpoint, shutting down the interstate was necessary.

"We have a requirement to be responsible for the safety and lives of people and we are going to do that, we are going to do that to the best of our ability.  If that means someone is going to have to miss a flight, at least they are here to catch another flight," Allen said.

Pier 1, Johnny Carinos, Nordstrom Rack and Duke Medical Plaza at the nearby Renaissance Center at Southpoint were also evacuated as a precaution, Michael said.

Chief Deputy Mike Andrews said late Wednesday that a deputy with the emergency response team was shot in the left arm during the investigation. The shooting was caused by a weapon malfunction and the deputy, whose name was not released, is expected to be OK. 


This story is closed for comments.

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  • whatisthetruth69 Jul 2, 2010

    jrbrock...you do not know the facts, no one does but the police. The media will report what it wants to get the most viewers. So why don't you get a clue. The only ones that look dumb are ignorant people like you.

  • just my2cents Jul 1, 2010

    Amen "whocares!"
    If you would have been blown into pieces bc the police did not react, I guess they would not have been doing their jobs!
    Give it a rest people! Quit your complaining!

  • wattsun Jul 1, 2010

    As stupid as it seems now it was the right call.
    does look in the pict like it could be some kind of IED.

  • peppercorns Jul 1, 2010

    wow- if we don't look like a bunch of hicks ,to the rest of the country now.....

  • NoFreakinWay Jul 1, 2010

    I just saw a bag blowing in the road on I-40 near Harrison. Quick, someone close the highway down until we determine whether or not it's actually a bag!

  • I know some stuff Jul 1, 2010

    So all it takes is 'a motorist with a cellphone' (we've got more than enough of those) and some suspicious litter (we even use Inmates to haul away truckloads of that), and we can bring ourselves to a complete STOP. We're doomed...all by ourselves.

  • odarkshineo Jul 1, 2010

    Living a life of fear. The only sure fire solution to beat terrorist...oh wait that doesn't work either...

  • OGE Jul 1, 2010

    God forbid one day we have actual terrorists coming and doing stuff. It may take 24 hours or more before the police can put together a response. Just like the shameful response to terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008. Police forces need to get their acts together, and that includes our own!

    Give them unlimited resources like our military and I am sure they would be prepared.

  • mrr03 Jul 1, 2010

    TO Bendal1 : When it come to the safety of the citizen in relationship to the possibilty of an explosion, you can't over respond..Let me suggest this to you..If and when you ever find a suspicious package near you or your home, YOU just go over an kick it, pick it up or whatever you heart tells you do. Please don't cal the police, they might over react and you'll be saved. Keep the faith ..baby

  • whocares Jul 1, 2010

    For those of you complaining about shutting down the highway, what would you be feeling (if you were still alive) if it really was a bomb and because of acting hastily it went off. If you think you can do any better than law enforcement please send them your ideas, I am sure they would like to hear from you.