Truck Overturns, Blocks I-40 at West Memphis

JULY 12, 2006 - Posted at 7:31 a.m. CDT

WEST MEMPHIS, AR - A truck hauling a 70-ton piece of equipment has overturned in the westbound lanes of Interstate-40 at West Memphis, blocking the interstate.  No injuries were reported from the accident that happened at approximately 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.  Workers were still clearing the road several hours later.  A spokesman for the Arkansas State Police Troop D headquarters in Forrest City said the highway is currently open to traffic, but it will be shut down again this morning at some point for clean-up work to continue.  The spokesman said he did not yet know the exact time.

Enrique Rodriguez, the driver of the 18-wheeler, said he slowed down because of traffic and was trying to keep the load on the high side of a curve.  He said that, when he steered his truck off the shoulder to miss a highway department sign, his load shifted and the rig overturned.

State troopers and Arkansas Highway Police officers diverted westbound traffic onto Interstate-55 north to Marion, where motorists could turn around and head south to avoid the accident scene.  The detour essentially caused gridlock in Marion, which has no four-lane roads, other than I-55.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)