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PHOTOS/VIDEO: Rig crashes, spills frozen pizzas on I-30, halts traffic for hours

by Gavin Lesnick, Scott Carroll | August 10, 2017 at 4:30 a.m.
Arkansas state troopers investigate after a westbound truck hauling frozen pizzas hit the Mabelvale overpass on Interstate 30 on Aug. 9, 2017, causing the interstate to be shut down. No injuries were reported from the wreck.

An 18-wheeler crashed and spilled frozen pizzas on Interstate 30 in Little Rock on Wednesday, closing part of the freeway for almost 4½ hours and causing traffic to back up about 10 miles.

The crash happened around 1 p.m. in a westbound lane of the highway about a mile east of Interstate 430. The truck slammed into a column of the Mabelvale Pike overpass, ripping open the trailer "like a tin can" and spilling diesel fuel and hundreds of Tombstone and DiGiorno pizzas onto the roadway, Arkansas Department of Transportation spokesman Danny Straessle said.

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Photos by Benjamin Krain, Thomas Metthe, Emma Pettit and Danny Straessle

Straessle said damage to the overpass was only "superficial," and Mabelvale Pike remained open.

There were no injuries.

"Fortunately it did not turn into a horrendous disaster," Straessle said. "Except for the loss of the pizza, I guess."

Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said the truck and a car were both going west when the vehicles "sideswiped into each other," and the truck crashed. Sadler said an investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Westbound lanes on I-30 reopened at 5:27 p.m., according to the Highway Department. By that time, traffic had backed up past the I-30/Interstate 530 interchange.

Straessle said the spilled pizzas baked in the summer heat. "It smelled like a pizzeria out there," he said. Front-loading tractors were used to scoop the pizzas off the road and into dump trucks. Trucks equipped with vacuums and mechanical brooms were used to remove large amounts of cheese, pepperoni and sauce from the pavement.

"It made for some very slick conditions, believe it or not," Straessle said.

The Highway Department took the pizzas to its headquarters at 10324 Interstate 30, just north of where the crash occurred, according to Straessle.

He said the agency hadn't decided by late Wednesday how to dispose of the no-longer-edible pizzas.

Metro on 08/10/2017

Print Headline: Rig crashes, spills frozen pizzas on I-30, halts traffic for hours

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