WALKER, LA (WAFB) - Traffic is once again flowing on I-12 East after a crash involving an overturned vehicle caused the roadway to close for a few hours early Thursday morning.
The wreck happened on I-12 East at the Walker exit, shutting down both lanes. The roadway reopened around 6:15 a.m.
Walker Police say an eastbound semi-truck hauling 20 tons of steel drove onto the left shoulder of the road to avoid a crash around 9 p.m. Wednesday night. The semi then got stuck in the mud.
According to Captain John Sharp of the Walker Police Department, the driver of the semi didn't notice traffic had slowed and to avoid a crash, he swerved onto the shoulder.
Sharp said that although the 18 wheeler was stuck in the median, there was no lane blockage and the interstate was able to remain open. The real problem occurred around midnight when a wrecker arrived to pull the stuck rig from the median.
"The cargo transported by the tractor-trailer shifted slightly when the vehicle went into the median," said Captain Sharp. "When the wrecker began to pull the vehicle from the median, the load shifted further, causing the trailer to torque or twist, creating a risk of overturning. At that point, it was apparent that the cargo would need to be off-loaded prior to further efforts to remove the stuck tractor-trailer."
Around 1:30 a.m., a replacement tractor-trailer arrived at the scene so that the cargo from the damaged vehicle could be off-loaded and removed from the scene. After the steel cargo was off-loaded and removed, the stuck 18 wheeler was towed from the median. At 6:15 a.m., both eastbound lanes of travel were reopened.
Although Walker Police blame driver inattentiveness for the accident, the driver of the 18 wheeler was not cited. "Our officers felt that (the driver) redeemed himself for the violation by taking quick, evasive action to prevent what could have been a tragic accident," said Captain Sharp. "Considering the cost to repair the damaged trailer and the tow and recovery charges (the driver) incurred, we felt that a citation was unwarranted."