Crews have been working since mid-morning to remove a tanker truck carrying plastic pellets that overturned as it came off I-95’s northbound lanes at the Palm Coast Parkway exit, making a turn to go west.
Chuck Trautman, 39, the driver, was not injured. But the truck, which weighed 78,520 pounds, overturned on the shoulder of the parkway, just before the overpass bridge. Almost a dozen crew members from John’s Towing were at the scene, preparing to lift the truck. One crew member said the operation might begin after 11 a.m.
At that point, a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy at the scene said, the westbound lanes of Palm Coast Parkway will be closed to traffic for one to two hours, from Old Kings Road west. All traffic will be diverted onto Old Kings Road. One or two eastbound lanes of the parkway may be closed, if the operation requires it, but not all three lanes.
The Parkway’s westbound lanes were closed briefly immediately after the wreck around 9 a.m.
A Florida Highway Patrol investigator at the scene said the truck was driving up the exit ramp. “The light changed to yellow and he just went a little bit too fast as he entered the curve, and he ended up rolling over,” the trooper said. “He was cited and found at fault for the crash, driving too fast for conditions.” The law doesn’t apply only to weather conditions, the trooper said, but to curves and other circumstances.
There were no environmental concerns over the truck’s cargo, nor was there a leak at the scene, the trooper said. The truck, however, was severely damaged and would be hauled off.
The truck was merely 10 minutes away from its destination at the Consolidated Container Company on Hargrove Grade, which manufactures its own plastic bottles. Trautman described the event: “The light turned yellow, I tried to stop, it just wasn’t sufficient time to stop and I didn’t want to run into anybody.” (On Thursday evening on State Road 100, an armored truck belonging to the Garda company applied the brakes too late at an intersection, went spinning, and struck a pick-up truck driven by a woman and trailing a horse. The horse was killed, the woman severely injured. The Garda truck driver was expected to be given a citation similar to Trautman’s.)
“It’s bad enough I’ll lose my job, but for somebody else to be hurt, that would have been even worse,” Trautman said.
The truck belongs to Tampa-based Bulkmatic Transport Co.
Another wreck took place almost parallel to the overturned truck as a Budweiser truck rear-ended a Nissan Maxima. There were no injuries in that wreck, which is considered separate from the overturned truck accident.
Closing the westbound lanes was necessary both to provide maneuverability for the wrecking company and for drivers’ safety, the trooper said. “We’ll have some unhappy drivers but we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do,” he said.
The Palm Coast Fire Police had taken up positions at various points in the affected area to redirect traffic. The Palm Coast Fire Department, Flagler County Fire Rescue and the sheriff’s office were also at the scene.