Tanker overturns on I-17, diesel spill closes freeway

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Tanker overturns on I-17 causing diesel spill

PHOENIX - It was a mess in the North Valley Sunday after DPS had to shut down both northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 17.

All lanes were re-opened at about 3:30 p.m. The early-morning wreck caused traffic to come to a standstill for up to six hours.

A tanker truck rolled over and thousands of gallons of fuel flooded the median causing the freeway to be shut down for hours leaving motorists stranded.

"I was coming down the road and I saw a big cloud of dust. It looked pretty bad," Pam Barnes, a witness, describes.

It was a Flying J tanker truck that rolled over on the median on I-17 with the driver still stuck inside.

"Several people just stopped on the side of the road and helped the driver out," Barnes explains.

The driver, a 53-year-old man from Winslow, suffered only minor injuries. Barnes tells 3TV, "He was walking, soyeah, he looked shaken."

Also shaken was the 27-year-old Cottonwood woman and two 1-year-old children inside a white Honda. DPS says while heading northbound on Daisy Mountain Drive, the truck hit the Honda while attempting to change lane.

DPS spokesperson Robert Bailey tells 3TV, "The Honda spun out in the roadway and into the truck againthe truck went into the median and rolled over."

It rolled and up to 7,800 gallons of diesel fuel came rolling out. Phoenix firefighters and Haz-mat crews quickly responded, but it was hours before the highway would re-open.

Even weekend travelers stuck in traffic and neighbors giving detour directions kept in mind that it could have been a lot worse.

The driver was taken to a local hospital and treated for only minor injuries. DPS tells 3TV everyone was lucky nobody was seriously injured.