Last week in North Charleston, an early morning crash created a backup that lasted nearly nine hours for Charleston area commuters trying to make their way to work. In an already highly congested area of Interstate-26 two 18-wheelers hauling large loads of wood chips collided and exploded into flames. Your Charleston tractor trailer lawyers read in Thursday’s Post and Courier that the collision between the two mega vehicles happened about 3:40 a.m., long before the rush hour traffic that usually clogs up the eastbound lanes of I-26 near Ashley Phosphate Road overpass. According to reports, one of the 18-wheelers was slowing down before entering a work zone on the interstate when it was struck from behind by the second truck, starting a fire that was fueled by the load of wood chips the tractor trailers were hauling to a paper mill.
After the major truck accident, both drivers were rushed to Medical University Hospital. The 40-year-old driver of the first was listed as in fair condition after receiving treatment, while the 48-year-old driver of the second truck from Summerville is reported to be in serious condition. There were no other reports as to the type or kind of serious injuries suffered by either driver. It can be presumed, although not known for sure, that the fire that erupted from the crash could have caused serious burn injuries to one, or both, of the drivers that were injured on the job.
It seems to be a rarity for the lawyers at Howell Law when discussing serious motor vehicle accidents in Charleston and surrounding areas that the motorists involved were observing the mandatory South Carolina Law of wearing a seat belt. But, both of the truck drivers injured on the job were wearing their seat belts at the time of the accident.
According to reports, the collision caused large a large pile of wood chips to be dumped on the interstate, the chips extending across all three lanes of traffic. Additionally, fuel and oil were dumped onto the interstate, adding to the already highly combustible situation. South Carolina State Troopers were forced to close the interstate and reroute rush hour commuters onto the Ashley Phosphate exit ramp. The traffic built up and extended back six miles from the scene of the accident to the College Park Road exit. And despite the rerouting efforts from State Troopers, there were just too many morning commuters to quell the traffic jam, alternate routes such as U.S. Highway 78 were backed up all the way to Summerville.
What is interesting about this traffic delay is that disgruntled motorists used social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter as a means to vent their frustrations. Showing not only the amazing technological capabilities of the modern cell-phone, but also the degree to which their owners use them to update their “status” and voice discontent when things don’t go as planned.
As your Charleston workers’ compensation lawyers know, and have commented on in past blog entries, major delays filled with antsy drivers create the opportunity for more auto accidents to occur. In last Wednesday’s nine hour delay an accident occurred when a Highway Patrol cruiser was struck by a motorist when the trooper was outside the cruiser helping with the traffic jam. Fortunately, neither the trooper nor the motorist was injured in the minor collision.
Also mentioned in an older blog post (both of which can be found below), were some safety tips from Ronald “Big Dog” Sowder, who is also known as the “safest driver on the road” for his impeccable driving record as United Parcel Service (UPS) truck driver. Sowder has been accident-free for more than 25 years and his tips for safe driving should be read by not only trucking professionals, but also regular motorists looking to avoid being involved in serious car accidents.