Thousands of drivers get stuck for hours after gas truck accident

    9:40 PM, Jul 19, 2010   |    comments
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    As of 10 p.m., Arkansas State Police say this stretch of Highway 40 West near Burns Park is still shut down. And they're still investigating what caused the accident, leaving a major traffic mess in its path.

    Consider these drivers the lucky ones Monday with the westbound side of I-40 looking like this.


    "I've been waiting on this for two hours, two hours, it's been like nightmare," Driver Anton Hoang said.


    Hoang and his family hit the brakes en route from Alabama to Fort Smith after this gas tanker trunk crashed, shutting down I-40 westbound near Burns Park.


    "We got food and drinks and just my wife and my baby to get me through this," Hoang said.


    "Are you doing ok? "Yeah," Hoang's three-year-old son said with a smile.   


    It was one of the few smiles we found in this traffic that turned into emergency situations for a few drivers beyond the crash.


    "With the heat we have and everything else, it just doesn't make anything, it doesn't make anything good for us at all," said Captain Clayton Goddard.


    Goddard with MEMS says they had two calls involving asthma and diabetes flare ups. Both patients ended up OK, but Goddard says take precautions for summer road trips.


    "Clothing, that's where I would start. Wear cool, comfortable light-colored clothing," Goddard said.


    He also says throw in some extra water and sunscreen and start preparing even before you leave.


    "Folks need to be drinking more water the day before, the evening before," Goddard said. "If they have certain health conditions, the caffeine and the nicotine certainly don't help in the heat."


    As for the stranded drivers along I-40, we found Fruit Loops and water helping out, and some charitable hearts.


    "More hot than anything but some nice people gave us water so that's good," driver Jim Douglas said.


    Douglas was on a motorcycle going from Pensacola to

    Oklahoma City. He'd been stuck for three hours when we interviewed him. And there were many other stories out there

    just like that. 


    Drivers are being detoured off Military Drive as part of this highway closure.  


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