I-10 back open after early morning semi rollover dumped 20 tons of produce


by Catherine Holland


Posted on August 3, 2010 at 6:37 AM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 3 at 1:27 PM

Map: Semi rolls, dumps 20 tons of produce

View larger map

BUCKEYE, Ariz. -- A semi rolled over on eastbound Interstate 10 west of the Valley early Tuesday morning, dumping its load of 40,000 pounds -- that's about 20 tons -- of lettuce, onions, and green beans.

It happened shortly before 4 a.m. at Jackrabbit Trail (195th Avenue), forcing the Department of Public Safety to shut down a section of the freeway for hours.

Video form the scene showed piles and piles of produce crates and bags scattered all over the roadway.

At one point, the backup stretched for about 10 miles, but traffic was slowly getting by in one lane, which was opened by about 6:45 a.m. The freeway wasn't fully reopened to traffic until just before 1:30 p.m.

Crews needed that time not just to cleanup the spilled produce, but also to replace a portion of the guardrail that was damaged in the wreck.

According to DPS, the truck driver said he dozed off at the wheel and hit the guardrail just before the semi rolled. DPS said witness statements and evidence at the scene corroborate that.

The driver and his passenger, who was asleep in the truck's sleeper compartment, suffered minor injuries. Both were taken to the hospital and are expected to be fine.

An investigation into the wreck is under way.