Overturned trailer dumps 30,000 pounds of mulch on roadway

Reported by: Erik Avanier
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Updated: 4/22/2013 2:08 pm
HAMILTON COUNTY, Tennessee(WDEF) - The failure to obey a road sign led to several hours of clean up work on W Road.

Tractor trailer driver James Bankhead said he was traveling up hill on W Road when he noticed the road was closed. He manged to turn his truck around and head back down hill but navigating one sharp downhill curve turned disastrous when the wheels on one side of his trailer got caught in a ditch.

"I saw it turning over and just stopped. It turned all the way over," said Bankhead.

When his trailer overturned, it dumped 30,000 pounds of mulch he was hauling onto the roadway.

For several hours crews worked to not only pick up the bagged mulch but also get the damaged trailer off the road.

Many people who lived farther up the road were were trapped and had to wait until the roadway was clear.

Seth Bucha drove all the way from Athens Georgia to do some construction work on his second house that was a half mile up the road but he could not drive past the wreckage. Instead, he got out his vehicle and hiked his way up to his home.

Bucha said he's seen other trucks that are too big to travel up W Road end up in similar situations.

"We've seen a trailer truck get stuck in this turn going up the road before," said Bucha.

A roadway signs at the base of the hill clearly warns semi-truck drivers not to enter W road. There is also a sign at the base of the hill that says the roadway is closed in 2.3 miles.

"I saw the sign down there but the GPS kept taking me up that way and I was trying to get to my destination," said Bankhead.

State Troopers investigating the scene said GPS devices combined with ignoring this sign is what's causing similar crashes on W road.

"These commercial truck drivers are using regular car GPS's and that's usually what is turning them up this part of the road where it's closed or it's not accessible to commercial vehicles," said trooper Steven Bourque.

Trooper Bourque issued Bankhead two citations for failure to obey traffic control signs.

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