DINWIDDIE, VA (WWBT) - VDOT has announced that all travel lanes on I-85 north at mile marker 59 (the on-ramp to Route 460 west Blackstone) have reopened after a massive clean up from an earlier tractor trailer fire with several gallons of fuel spilled.
Motorists had been using the right shoulder and traffic delays were approximately 3 miles.
One look at the truck, and it's hard to believe that anyone made it out alive. The driver only had minor injuries, but the bigger issue here is the mess left behind.
Hundreds of gallons of diesel, a damaged guardrail and a shell of what was once a tractor trailer still smoldering hours later.
A 5 a.m. crash left destruction, and a four-mile traffic back-up in it's wake. The driver was taken to the hospital.
"It could have been worse, but he only sustained minor injuries," said Sgt. Thomas Molnar of the Virginia State Police.
Keith Borders, 44, of Indiana, is now charged with reckless driving. He was hauling wire baskets, mesh and burlap sacks, which added fuel to the fire. Firefighters had to battle rekindled hot spots throughout the morning.
State police say in addition to the mess, drivers made this scene worse.
Fire crews and state troopers were still responding to the area, and people had already gotten out of their cars and were getting on the shoulder, parking their cars on the roadways and on the shoulder," Molnar said.
You should always stay with your car, and off the shoulder. Firefighters on scene hope drivers will listen up, because for them traffic is often more dangerous than the fire.
"A lot of people want to rubberneck and see what's going on , they don't want to slow down and give us a break, so that's probably our number one problem," said Chief Dennis Hale of the Dinwiddie County Fire and Emergency Medical Services.
As bad as this crash was, emergency workers weren't surprised.
"This is not unusual for 85," Hale said. "We probably have three or four a year of this magnitude. The speed out here, particularly at night, and there's not a lot of traffic. Speeds are very high, 70 miles an hour speed limit."
The Indiana-based trucking company will be responsible for footing the bill for the clean-up.