FARMINGTON HILLS (WWJ) – A busy stretch of I-696 in Farmington Hills has finally reopened after hazmat crews spent almost 24 hours cleaning up a fuel tanker that overturned Monday afternoon.
Reporting live from the scene, WWJ’s Ron Dewey said a tanker carrying jet fuel ran off the freeway around 1 p.m. Monday and ended up in a ditch near Halsted Road. The truck driver reportedly told police he was cut off by a silver-colored compact that forced him off the road.
Officials say the tanker had four chambers that had to be drilled into so the fuel could be siphoned into another tanker before the truck was turned upright and pulled from the ditch.
Emergency crews worked overnight to clear the accident, but remained on the scene until just before 11 a.m. Tuesday. Lt. Michael Shaw said efforts to clean up the mess were hampered in part by rubbernecking drivers.
“We actually had a third traffic crash that occurred in the scene by somebody that was watching to see what was going on and that happened about 11:40 at night. The decision was made then that we were going to need to close the whole freeway, just to make sure that we didn’t have another crash into the tanker truck,” said Shaw.
The truck driver, 40-year-old David Schultz, was taken to Botsford Hospital with chest contusions and various cuts, and is expected to recover.
No other injuries were reported. An investigation is ongoing.