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.