I-15 blocked for hours after driver says he fell asleep, rolled semi carrying detergent ingredients

Semitractor-trailer rolls on northbound Interstate 15 near mile marker 102 and blocks all lanes of travel, Beaver County, Utah, May 19, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Utah Highway Patrol, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A rollover involving a semitractor-trailer on Interstate 15 in Beaver County blocked all lanes of travel for more than three hours as responders cleared the scene, causing a backup of traffic that extended for miles Tuesday morning.

Semitractor-trailer rolls on northbound Interstate 15 near mile marker 102 and blocks all lanes of travel, Beaver County, Utah, May 19, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Utah Highway Patrol, St. George News

The single-vehicle crash was reported shortly after 9 a.m. on I-15 at mile marker 102 just south of Beaver.

Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. David Bairett told St. George News that when they arrived at the scene they found a semitractor-trailer lying on its side across all northbound lanes of travel, including both emergency lanes.

“That’s what made it difficult to redirect traffic,” he said. “Because there were no other lanes or openings to divert the vehicles through initially.”

The driver of the semi was transported to the hospital with minor injuries, primarily as a precaution.

Troopers were able to redirect a number of vehicles that were trapped near the crash site onto the dirt shoulder, he said, and from there they navigated slowly passed the scene.

That same soft shoulder would be used by all northbound traffic shortly thereafter as the semi’s trailer had to be off-loaded by hand before it could be pulled upright and removed from the roadway.

At the time of the crash, the semi was heading north when the driver told police he fell asleep, Bairett said. The semi drifted out of its lane, and when the driver attempted to correct, he lost control, which caused the truck and fully-loaded trailer to roll over onto its side.

The heavy damage to the trailer prevented it from being pulled upright with the contents still inside, so crews were brought in to offload the trailer by hand, a process that took several hours. The trailer was packed with 50-pound bags of non-hazardous powder used to make laundry detergent that were stacked on several pallets, Bairett said.

Once the contents were removed and loaded into a second trailer, the tractor and trailer were pulled upright and towed from the roadway. The northbound lanes were reopened shortly after noon.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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