Local News

Police: Nothing criminal in situation that closed I-40 for hours

Posted July 2, 2010 5:16 p.m. EDT
Updated July 2, 2010 5:50 p.m. EDT

— Durham police don't have anyone to blame for the situation that shutdown a busy east-west route across the Triangle for more than three hours during the Wednesday evening rush hour.

A man called 911 Wednesday just after 4 p.m. to report seeing an object in the median of Interstate 40 westbound near Fayetteville Road.

The caller, who said he had recently returned from service in Iraq and had post-traumatic stress disorder, told dispatchers, "I just saw something laying on the side of the road that is every bit what were trained to look for in Iraq as an IED (improvised explosive device)."

In the call, he worried he was overreacting and offered to check it out. "I don't want the bomb squad to spend an hour out here looking at a toy," the caller said.

Police shut down the interstate in both directions after the call and spent almost four hours clearing the scene before a motorized robot sprayed high-pressure water on the object and removed it. The road reopened just after 8 p.m.

The object, which appeared to be three PVC pipes wrapped in tape, was not an explosive.

"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.

On Friday, Cpl. M.C. Walkowe said the criminal investigation was pretty much complete. “The device appears to not have been left on the roadway for any criminal purpose, and we do not expect to charge anyone at this time,” he said.

The Durham Sheriff's Office said a deputy who was shot during the response was recovering and in good condition Friday.