Tractor-Trailer Wreck Blocks Durham Freeway Traffic For Hours
Posted June 13, 2001 4:31 a.m. EDT
DURHAM — A tractor-trailer went out of control Wednesday morning and landed on the Durham Freeway, blocking traffic for nearly three hours.
Durham police say Sam Pitchford Cheek Jr., 60, of Warrenton, was driving a tractor-trailer south on Mangum Street near the Durham Bulls Athletic Park around 7:15 a.m. when the truck drifted off the right side of the road.
Cheek went through a guardrail and down an embankment. A utility pole and traffic light were also hit. Police say the driver may have suffered a seizure.
The truck crossed the northbound lanes of the Durham Freeway, hit a guardrail, and went into the median. It stopped on top of a guardrail in the median next to the southbound lanes.
The trailer of the truck completely blocked the northbound lanes of the highway, blocking the way for morning commuters.
Traffic was diverted off the Durham Freeway onto the Mangum/Roxboro Street downtown exit. Earlier, cars already beyond the exit were being turned around by police. The road was cleared just after 10 a.m.
Cheek is in fair condition at Duke Medical Center.
Police say there were no indications that he hit the brakes or tried to stop. The DMV is also investigating the incident.
According to police, the 1992 Kenworth truck, which is owned by Herman's Trucking Service in Henderson, sustained damage to the undercarriage and front windshield. The trailer was not loaded.