ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WNCN) — A section of US-64 in Rocky Mount was closed in both directions much of the day Friday after an 18-wheeler overturned during the morning commute, spilling both explosives and hazardous materials, Rocky Mount police said.
As of 5 p.m., lanes have started to reopen, but only on the westbound side of US-64, near exit 470 for Atlantic Avenue. Officials said at 5 p.m. that both the east and westbound exit ramps remain closed along with the two eastbound lanes.
The driver who overturned the 18-wheeler at approximately 6:47 a.m. has been identified by police as Jeremy Crews, 43, of West Virginia.
Crews has since been charged for traveling at 40 miles per hour on an off-ramp rated for 25 miles per hour, according to Ricky Jackson of the Rocky Mount Police Department.
In a statement on the crash, police said the truck was en route from Garner to the rock quarry on Highway 97 in Rocky Mount when things went sideways.
Once fire department units arrived on scene and established the truck was carrying “hazardous cargo that had the potential to explode,” police said they were called onto the scene along with NCDOT crews to assist and shut down the roadways.
The Raleigh Police Department Bomb Squad were also brought on board to “safely remove the blasting caps and boosters on board the vehicle,” the statement said.
Miles around the crash site were initially blocked off to traffic due to the nature of the hazardous and explosive materials, police told CBS 17.
An evacuation radius of about a half mile was established by police, impacting both residential areas and businesses.
At 3:20 p.m., Rocky Mount fire officials said the evacuation zone was reduced to 300 feet and no longer impacts homes or businesses.
Crews did sustain minor cuts and bruises in the overturn, police said. He has since been released after receiving EMS care. The truck was the only vehicle involved and the driver was the only person inside, according to officers.
Rocky Mount police also told CBS 17 that the driver was actively assisting police and fire crews with the cleanup efforts as he’s familiar with how to handle the materials that were on board.
Police further said no injuries were reported and the crash remains under investigation.
As of 5 p.m., Phillips Transportation Services are continuing to manage the environmental cleanup process.
For the time being, NCDOT suggested the following detour for those driving through the area:
Motorists must take Exit 469 (US 301 Bus South/N Church Street) and turn right. Continue on US 301 BUS South to NC 97 and turn left. Continue on to NC 97 to re-access US 64.
As of Saturday morning, NCDOT is reporting that all lanes are back open.