SANDSTONE, W.Va. -- Eastbound traffic on Interstate 64 in Summers County was still closed Sunday evening, and police briefly evacuated the town of Sandstone early Sunday morning after a truck carrying radioactive material rolled over and caught fire.
No one was killed or seriously injured in the accident, which occurred at about midnight east of the Sandstone interchange, police said.
According to a news release from State Police in Hinton, a westbound pickup truck veered onto the shoulder of the Interstate, struck a guardrail and rolled through the median onto the shoulder of the eastbound lanes, spewing debris across the road.
Soon afterward, the driver of an eastbound semi tractor-trailer saw the debris, hit his brakes, veered to the right, struck a rock embankment and flipped over, catching fire.
The truck was carrying a container with about 16 tons of uranium hexaflouride, The Associated Press reported. No radioactivity leaked after the accident, the Summers County dispatcher said.
Police diverted eastbound traffic on I-64 between onto W.Va. 20 between the Sandstone and Green Sulphur Springs exits, the dispatcher said. Westbound lanes were closed briefly after the accident to clear a downed power line, and later Sunday evening to move the semi truck.
The drivers of both trucks were treated for minor injuries at Summers County Appalachian Regional Hospital in Hinton and later released, a Summers County dispatcher said.
The driver of the pickup was found to be intoxicated at the time of the crash and was cited by the Summers County Sheriff's Department.
About 100 people in the Sandstone area were evacuated to Summers County Middle School in Hinton or to nearby Fayette County, but returned to their homes several hours later.
Emergency workers were still cleaning up debris late Sunday the dispatcher said. The cleanup efforts could last until Monday.The accident created long delays for motorists heading eastbound on I-64, police said. Parkways employees set up mobile signs at three locations on the West Virginia Turnpike to warn drivers about the detour, a dispatcher said -- southbound at the toll barrier near Pax, northbound just north of Princeton and just east of the split near Beckley.