By ED HOWELL
Daily Mountain Eagle
CARBON HILL — A tractor-trailer truck hauling meat products drove off U.S. Interstate 22 at mile marker 46 early Saturday morning, crashing into a ravine and …
By ED HOWELL
Daily Mountain Eagle
CARBON HILL — A tractor-trailer truck hauling meat products drove off U.S. Interstate 22 at mile marker 46 early Saturday morning, crashing into a ravine and killing the driver.
The accident led emergency crews to still be at the scene nearly 12 hours later, clearing debris and dumping meat into a container under a 110-degree heat index.
“It’s been a nightmare,” Walker County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Regina Myers said.
The accident happened at a bridge that is a half mile west of Exit 46 at County Road 11, a mile north of Carbon Hill.
Alabama State Trooper Johnathan Appling released a statement Saturday afternoon saying the accident was the result of a single-vehicle crash at 2 a.m. The accident resulted in the death of the driver, 60-year-old Eulas Horne of Columbus, Ga.
Appling said Horne “was killed when the 1999 Freightliner he was driving left the roadway, struck a bridge, came to rest at the bottom of a ravine and caught fire. Horne was pronounced dead at the scene.”
No further details were available, Appling said, as Alabama State Troopers continue to investigate.
At 1:20 p.m. Saturday, Myers was still working with an Alabama Department of Transportation crew at the bridge.
The trailer could be seen at the roadside, with twisted metal that had been the guard rail. A county dumpster was being used to gather the boxed beef that was stored in the trailer, some of the meat now unpackaged in the dumpster.
Tow trucks and other trucks were seen as well, with little seen of the victim’s truck except what appeared to be an undercarriage. “You would never know it, but that’s the truck,” Myers said, pointing to it, noting the call came into EMA as a vehicle explosion.
“Our best guess is that when it hit that concrete wall, it got the fuel tanks and blew up the truck,” she said.
Myers had been at the scene since 2:50 a.m., through the night and into the afternoon. The heat was miserable as crews worked on.
“I wish it was January,” one of the crew members said.
Myers said the east-bound truck “went through the guard rail, hit the (bridge’s) wing wall and went over down the hill.” The truck went down about 200 feet down to the bottom.
She indicated the steepness of the hill had taken a toll of crews. “I’m not taking you down that hill. I am done with that hill for today,” she said, taking the reporter over the see the bottom overhead from the bridge.
A charred area near riprap directly below the south end of the bridge showed where burning took place, and a large number of boxes with meat products could still be seen just east of the wreckage, even after crews had carried away “truckloads and truckloads and truckloads” of meat all morning, Myers said.
The truck itself came under the bridge.
Crews could not use machinery to get the boxes because some of the meat wound up in the creek below, she said.
The far right east-bound lane of I-22 was blocked off to traffic at the scene by that afternoon.
Carbon Hill Fire and Rescue answered the fire call after the accident, with assistance from Nauvoo Volunteer Fire Department, Myers said, noting diesel fuel spilled across the bridge as well.