Semi hauling mulch rolls on I-10, wreaks havoc on morning commute Valleywide


by Catherine Holland

Video report by Tess Rafols and Gina Maravilla

Posted on February 27, 2013 at 7:40 AM

Updated Friday, Mar 1 at 10:42 AM

Map: I-10/I-17 Split (near Sky Harbor)

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Rollover wreck "clogging up the entire freeway system"

PHOENIX -- A semi truck carrying a load of mulch bags rolled over in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 10 at the Interstate 17 Split by the airport Wednesday, wreaking havoc on the morning commute throughout the Phoenix metro area.

According to the Department of Public Safety, it happened shortly after 6 a.m. just east of The Split.

The wreck forced five-hour closure, the effects of which were felt all over the Valley.

"This accident is clogging up, it almost looks like it's clogging up the entire freeway system throughout the Valley," said 3TV traffic reporter Gina Maravilla.

3TV's Tess Rafols said it took her and her photographer 90 minutes to travel about five miles on I-10.

"Not kidding," she said. "It was awful."

Aerial video from the Fort McDowell Casino News Chopper showed bags of mulch scattered all over the roadway. Only one lane was getting by the rolled rig. DPS said the drivers were using the shoulder to pass the wreck flatbed.

By 9:30 a.m. DPS was able to open two lanes to allow more traffic through while crews continued their cleanup operation.

DPS Sgt. Tim Kvochick said the truck driver apparently was trying to avoid a couple of cars. In doing so, the flatbed hit another car, which was then pushed into a third vehicle as the rig rolled over.

A woman is seven months pregnant was in one of those vehicles. She was taken to a local hospital. Aside from some neck pain, both she and her baby appear to be unhurt, Kvochick said. A second woman suffered minor injuries, as well.

The driver of the rig was not injured and was on the scene with DPS all morning.

DPS was finally able to re-open all lanes of I-10 just after 11 a.m., five hours after the crash.

Raw video from the scene