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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2007
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The accident near the 319-mile marker on Interstate 65 near Lacon happened before 4 a.m. Nobody was seriously hurt.
Daily photo by John Godbey
The accident near the 319-mile marker on Interstate 65 near Lacon happened before 4 a.m. Nobody was seriously hurt.

Big rigs plunge off I-65 at Lacon overpass
Interstate, railway traffic shut down following collision; 1 driver receives minor injuries

By Seth Burkett
sburkett@decaturdaily.com 340-2355

LACON — The northbound lanes of Interstate 65 closed down for about 15 hours following a wreck between two tractor-trailers near mile marker 319.

The CSX railroad shut down for nearly as long after one of the trailers rolled onto the tracks below the interstate.

State trooper Sgt. Terry Ware said it appeared one northbound tractor-trailer was passing another on a section of road between two bridges, one over a small body of water and the other over the railroad, at about 3:22 a.m.

"Just as he came off the bridge, his vehicle started to jackknife, and he was losing control, and it went into the right-hand lane in front of the (second) truck," Ware said. "They collided, causing the (second) truck ... to go down the dirt embankment and overturn, taking out guardrails and trees and everything else in its path."

The jackknifed truck slid down the shoulder, partially on the roadway and partially off, with the nose of the tractor pointing down the embankment, Ware said.

The rearmost part of the tractor rode up onto the concrete bridge, which knocked out the truck's axle.

"His trailer detached and rolled down the embankment. The tractor was left dangling over the bridge, hanging on by the remaining rear axle. (Then) the cab detached and fell down onto the dirt embankment underneath with the driver inside," Ware said.

The detached trailer, filled with stacked cardboard boxes, came to rest on the railroad tracks.

The axle that came loose from the truck landed in the roadway, where a third truck collided with it, Ware said.

Amazingly, injuries appeared to be minor. The driver of the second tractor-trailer, which was hauling nuts and bolts, was treated and released by Hartselle Medical Center Thursday, troopers said.

The other drivers were not injured.

The third vehicle remained operational and was driven from the scene.

Troopers said CSX halted rail traffic until the wreckage could be removed. The damage was cleared up by about 2 p.m., and the tracks reopened at about 4 p.m. following cleaning and inspections. I-65 reopened at about 5:30 p.m.

State troopers identified the drivers as Christopher Gregory, 35, of Columbus, Ga., Justin Meers, 24, of Douglasville, Ga., and Rickey Brown, 47, of Huntsville.

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