TRAFFIC NEWS: Big Rig Diesel Spill Backs Up Traffic on Northbound I-5

GRAPEVINE, Calif. (Thursday, Oct. 1, 5:18 p.m.)–Due to a big rig accident and diesel spill, all lanes of northbound Interstate 5 near the Grapevine exit were blocked for two hours on Thursday. A 1997 PeterBilt 3-axle truck and trailer, driven by John Manuel Salas, Jr., 38 of El Paso, Texas, was hauling a 50,000-pound earthmover/scraper when the brakes overheated, according to California Highway Patrol’s Mark Ehly.

“Traffic was congested on the northbound lanes and the two right lanes were already closed due to construction. Upon the truck reaching the end of the closure, the driver realized he was gaining speed and attempted to stop the truck by driving into a large dirt embankment and the steel guard rail. The truck ripped out over 200 feet of guardrail and a call box before stopping across the number four lane and right shoulder,” Ehly said.

In hitting the guard rail, the truck’s left diesel tank ruptured, spilling approximately 40 gallons of diesel across all northbound lanes. The guardrail also became entangled with the axles of the truck, making removal of the rig time-consuming.

“At approximately 7:24 p.m., two of the northbound lanes were re-opened, and by 9:23 p.m. all four lanes were open. The driver was not injured,” Ehly said. No citations were issued but the investigation is ongoing, Ehly added.

This is part of the October 02, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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