The People's Tribune

Traffic Jammed For Hours On Highway 61 After Ethanol Tanker Overturns Near Eolia

Law Enforcement Agents Arrest Driver Who Hit Semi For DUI

Traffic was jammed for several hours on Highway 61 following a wreck involving a semi tanker that was hauling around 8,500 gallons of ethanol near Eolia on Sunday, Sept. 30.

The semi overturned and began leaking ethanol so both northbound and southbound lanes had to be closed until officials deemed the area safe for motorists. Even the roads where traffic was redirected were congested throughout the afternoon.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the accident occurred at 11:55 a.m. just north of Route OO near Eolia. The report states that Delbert W. Blackard, 35, of Florissant, was driving a 2009 Dodge Journey southbound when he attempted to change lanes from the left lane to the right. The right side of his SUV crossover struck the front left of the 2016 Peterbilt Conventional semi driven by Jeffery L. Bruce, 56, of Roxanna, Ill. This caused the semi to leave the right side of the roadway and the truck overturned.

Officials said at least three compartments of the truck began to leak ethanol due to the extensive damage.

The Highway Patrol reports arresting Blackard at 1:13 p.m. for the felony charge of driving while intoxicated (second degree assault). He was taken to the Pike County Jail and was later released.

Bruce sustained serious injuries in the crash and had to be taken by Air Evac helicopter to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

Numerous area fire departments responded to the scene in addition to a hazmat team. It was determined that the leaks were not hazardous. State and local law enforcement officials were also on the scene to investigate and help direct motorists to detours.

Northbound traffic was redirected to Highway D and Highway WW. Southbound motorists were directed to Highway 54 and Highway 79. All routes were backed-up due to congestion.

The northbound lanes were reopened after 6 p.m. and the southbound lanes were reopened after 8 p.m.

Blackard’s vehicle sustained extensive damage and was hauled from the scene by Jackson’s Towing. The semi was eventually removed by Roberts Garage of Durham, Mo.

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