ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WNCN) – A section of highway in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, was closed in both directions for much of the day on Friday after an 18-wheeler overturned during the morning commute, spilling both explosives and hazardous materials, police said.
In a statement on the crash, police said the truck was traveling on US-64 en route to a rock quarry in Rocky Mount at approximately 6:47 a.m. when things went sideways.
Fire department units arrived on scene and established the truck was carrying “hazardous cargo that had the potential to explode,” police said. Officials with the police and the North Carolina Department of Transportation shut down the roadways shortly afterward.
The Raleigh Police Department Bomb Squad were also brought on board to “safely remove the blasting caps and boosters on board the vehicle,” according to a statement from police.
Miles around the crash site were initially blocked off to traffic due to the nature of the hazardous and explosive materials, police told Nexstar’s WNCN. A half-mile evacuation radius was established by police, impacting both residential areas and businesses.
The 43-year-old driver who was operating the 18-wheeler sustained minor cuts and bruises in the overturn, and was treated by EMS workers, police said. He was the only person involved in the accident.
The driver has since been charged for traveling at 40 miles per hour on an off-ramp, or 15 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, according to the Rocky Mount Police Department. Police did note, however, that he was actively assisting police and fire crews with the cleanup efforts as he was familiar with how to handle the materials that were on board.
Lanes of traffic began to reopen 5 p.m. on Friday afternoon. All lanes had been reopened by Saturday morning, the N.C. Department of Transportation confirmed.