Tractor trailer wreck causes traffic slowdown

By Abby Morris
STAR STAFF
amorris@starhq.com

  
A tractor trailer wreck in the early morning hours on Friday caused a portion of US 321 near the Little Milligan community to be shut down to one lane of traffic for nearly 10 hours.
   The truck, owned by Tyson Chicken and driven by William A. Driscoll, Jr., of Clemmons, N.C., flipped onto its side and top while trying to negotiate a curve near the entrance to Mallard Cove Marina. Driscoll was not injured in the accident that occurred around 6 a.m.
   Firefighters from the Elk Mills - Poga Volunteer Fire Department were the first to respond and they were later joined by members of the Carter County Sheriff's Department, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and Constables from Carter County.
   According to THP Trooper Joe Lunceford, Driscoll had attempted to shift gears as he was coming down the hill approaching the curve but was unable to get the truck back into gear. The truck then started picking up speed and as the Driscoll tried to make the curve, the load shifted and cause the vehicle to flip.
   The guardrail on the side of the highway stopped the truck from going down a hill and also saved the driver's life, according to officers on the scene.
   "Looking at the truck, I don't know how he walked away from it," Lunceford said. "It's definitely a miracle."
   As the truck struck the guardrail, part of the roof to the truck's cab collapsed.
   "You were lucky with the way that caved in on top to not get hurt," Constable Landon Pritchard said to Driscoll.
   Call it luck or call it a miracle, Driscoll survived the wreck without a scratch, according to officers.
   The truck contained approximately 36,000-37,000 pounds of Tyson pork products when it was wrecked, according to Driscoll. Officers and wrecker crews were forced to wait for another truck to arrive to offload the cargo of the wrecked truck so that it could be righted.
   The second truck arrived at the scene shortly before 1 p.m. and the offload began. A work crew of 19 inmates from the Northeast Correctional Facility in Mountain City was brought in to help in the offloading process. The offload took just over an hour to complete.
   When the offload was complete, it was almost time for school to dismiss at Little Milligan Elementary School. THP Trooper Jerry Proffit, who was in charge of the scene, decided to delay the process of turning the tractor trailer back onto its wheels to allow traffic to get by from the school.
   "We try to accommodate the motoring public as much as we can," Proffit said.
   Once the wrecker services began pulling the truck back onto the road, the traffic was shut completely down. Crews got the truck righted around 3 p.m. The truck was removed just shortly after 4 p.m. and traffic began to run normally.
   The accident caused a "complicated situation," Proffit said, citing that traffic had to be rerouted or delayed, offloading the truck and shutting down the highway for wrecker crews to set the truck back on its wheels.