Semi flips on I-64; driver injured

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By Lisa King

The driver of a tractor-trailer was injured Monday morning when his vehicle overturned on Interstate I-64 West.

Brian Stradford, 40, of North Carolina, was treated and released from Jewish Hospital Shelbyville for injuries he sustained when his rig left the roadway and turned over on the grass, spilling a full load of scrap metal and rupturing a fuel tank.

Simpsonville Fire Chief Walter Jones, whose department responded to the accident that happened at the 26-mile marker, said that Haz-Mat teams cleaned up the diesel spill of about 60 gallons.

"It shouldn't cause a problem now unless we get a very flammable substance near it, so that danger is greatly diminished," he said, pointing to the rig, lying on its side surrounded by jagged pieces of scrap metal.

The accident happened at about 9 a.m., and because the truck was off the roadway, crews were able to keep one lane of the interstate open, although traffic was moving very slowly.

But Jones said that removing the truck and cleaning up the debris took most of the day. Before the truck could be towed, however, its auxiliary fuel tank had to be drained of its 100 gallons of fuel to reduce the danger of the fuel igniting, he said.

That task fell to Gray Kat Environmental Services, which drained the diesel fuel into a drum before crews could begin cleaning up the scrap metal.

Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy Riley Kennedy said he had no idea why Stradford ran off the road.

"There were no other vehicles involved, and I can't ask him what happened because he is unconscious," Kennedy said at the scene. "It's my guess that he may have fallen asleep, because witnesses say he just ran off the road and flipped over."

Figures were not available for the sheriff's office, but the Kentucky State Police reported that so far this year, they have worked 27 non-injury accidents and nine with injuries on I-64 in Shelby County.