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Spilled Fuel, Ham Combine To Create Mess During I-40 Morning Commute

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WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — Ham on the highway caused huge hassles for thousands of Triangle Commuters for most of Thursday.

Officials said a tractor-trailer went off the side of the road at 1:46 a.m. Thursday taking down the guardrail along westbound I-40 at Aviation Parkway, between Wade Avenue and Interstate 540.

The truck landed on its side and slid under a bridge abuttment. Officials said the driver told them he fell asleep before the accident occurred. Officials said the driver was not injured and there was no structural damage to the bridge.

The truck was carrying 40,000 pounds of fresh ham, which crews transferred to another truck. Officials said 250 gallons of fuel, which spilled from the truck, also had to be cleaned up.

Officials closed some of the westbound lanes to clear the scene, which caused some traffic delays.

"We had a couple of dangerous situations where peopel all but stopped to look, and we tried to keep them moving along and it's just unbelievable how they want to see what happened," DOT engineer Jerry Linder said.

Wake County Emergency Management responded to supervise the clean-up.

"They'll dig up the soil until they come down to clean soil and we work with our health department," said Brian McFeaters, of Wake County Emergency Management. "There will be a water quality health inspector out here later, who will look at the scene and he'll make the final determination if it meets his regulations."

Officials said the ham was heading to a packing house in the eastern part of the state.

The state Highway Patrol has charged the driver of the tractor-trailer with careless and reckless driving.