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Westbound I-44 briefly blocked at mile marker 165 by overturned semi truck
Westbound I-44 briefly blocked at mile marker 165 by overturned semi truck

Tow company personnel were able to reopen I-44 by pulling this semi truck off the roadway and onto the median..
DEVIL’S ELBOW, Mo. (July 7, 2010) — Quick action by firefighters and tow company personnel cleared a rolled-over semi truck carrying Caterpillar bulldozer and other heavy equipment parts, reopening a part of Interstate 44 just west of the Big Piney River Bridge in about 20 minutes that had been expected to remain closed for up to four hours.

Westbound traffic was backed up about a mile, according to Waynesville Rural Fire Chief Doug Yurecko.

“There are three lanes here and all three were blocked,” Yurecko said.

State troopers reported that Eduardo Olayo, 26, of Cicero, had been westbound driving a 2009 Freightliner when he ran off the right side of the roadway at 7:45 a.m. as he was going up a hill from the river, overcorrected, and overturned, landing on the driver’s side.

Neither Olayo nor a passenger in the sleeper compartment of the semi truck were hurt. Pulaski County Ambulance District personnel responded but were not needed.

Troopers reported that citations are pending for Olayo, which are expected to include careless and imprudent driving.

The semi was extensively damaged and will be removed by Jack’s Towing. Owned by Crest from Oklahoma City, it was pulling 30,000 pounds of heavy equipment parts in a Premier Transport trailer.

State troopers and Missouri Department of Transportation personnel temporarily closed westbound Interstate 44 from Exit 169 at Highway J to Exit 163 at Road Ranger, diverting traffic onto Highway Z. Jack’s Towing personnel were able to pull the truck into the median and are expected to remove it later today, which prevented a major disruption as MoDOT announced at 8:16 a.m. that drivers of oversize overweight permitted loads cannot deviate from the permitted route onto Route J. That triggered a statewide motor carrier alert that westbound drivers on one of Missouri’s major east-west routes could choose to exit Intersate 44 at Rolla and use U.S. 63 to access either U.S. 50 or U.S. 60.

The left lane was reopened to traffic at 8:44 a.m. and periodic lane closures are expected until noon, according to MoDOT reports.

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