MT. VERNON — Traffic was bogged down for more than seven hours in the Mt. Vernon region Friday after a semi rolled over on the Interstate 64 exit ramp at the intersection of Illinois Highway 37.
According to reports from Illinois State Police, the semi was hauling a hazardous material and rolled onto its side. The material was identified as ethanol.
As a precautionary measure, an area within 1,000 feet of the incident was blocked off by police. This caused a major traffic jam at the interstate interchange, as well as travelers trying to connect to Interstate 64 from Illinois Highway 37 in both directions.
Jefferson Fire Protection District Chief Robert Beal identified the truck driver as Don Weyer, who was driving a 2015 Freightliner for Quest Liner, based in Washington, Ind. Beal said
the truck had less than 10,000 logged miles and was heavily damaged.
Weyer apparently fell asleep, and when he awakened, he thought he was turning on Interstate 57 and failed to negotiate the curve at the off ramp. Weyer received minor injuries and was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital.
The truck contained 90 percent alcohol, according to Beal. He said fire personnel sprayed foam, brought to the scene by the Mt. Vernon Fire Department.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and State Police also responded, along with Illinois Emergency Management Agency officials and the HAZMAT team from the Mt. Vernon Fire Department.
Both lanes of Illinois 37 were blocked by police ó at the interstate for northbound traffic and at Bethel Road for southbound travelers. I-64 westbound traffic was diverted off the interstate at the Belle Rive exit and eastbound traffic was diverted at the south I-57/I-64 split.
The closure began around 7:50 a.m. and continued until about 12:40 p.m., according to ISP. The I-64 westbound ramp and the entrance ramp from Illinois Highway 37 to I-64 westbound remained closed until mid-afternoon.
The crash occurred around 4:40 a.m. JFPD officials were still at the scene at 1:30 p.m., according to Chief Beal.