UPDATE: I-520 back open after tanker truck overturns in Aiken Co.

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Monday, Oct. 15, 2012

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- It was a long, slow and dangerous process to bring a flipped truck back on its wheels because it was carrying liquid nitrogen, and one false move could mean disaster.

"This entire bridge was lined up with people looking over it. The places where you could pull off to park, by the water tower, were all filled up, and I felt like something big had happened," witness Jessie Brown said.

A big truck, with a big mess, was the scene on the Palmetto Parkway Monday morning, and since it was carrying a volatile liquid under pressure, righting the truck had the potential for disaster.

“I heard three or four different sirens coming from three or four different directions. Normally you only hear one, but when you hear multiple ones like that you know something big's happened," another witness described.

The accident closed down all lanes of I-520 for the entire day but attracted a big audience from the bridge that overlooked the scene.

The accident happened around 10:30 a.m. and even five hours later crews were working to get the truck that is full of liquid nitrogen, back on its wheels.

The driver is 59-year-old Stanley Speir from Lenoir City, Tenn. He was trapped inside the truck for hours, but crews finally got him out.

Officials say they were surprised and relieved his injuries weren't worse, especially from the looks of the guardrails and the median.

“On the other side of the bridge you can see where he hit the rails before,” Brown said.

One witness who doesn't want to be on camera says he has a lot of truck driver friends, and he knows driving big rigs can be a dangerous job.

“A loaded truck, whether it's hauling gas or flour or baby toys, a loaded truck doesn't stop as quick as a car. The chances of you losing control of the vehicle when you lock it down are very, very high," he said.

Officers weren't just concerned about the liquid nitrogen on board. A diesel fuel leak had officials evacuating everything within a half-mile, including a gas station and the Department of Driver Services.

Officials are still trying to figure out exactly what caused the truck to go down.

Since the accident didn't happen on a curve, some witnesses believe the big truck just blew a tire -- sending it into the guardrail and then onto its side.

The driver was traveling with his dog. The dog is safe and resting while his owner is in the hospital.

Initial report:

Monday, Oct. 15, 2012

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. -- The driver, 59-year-old Stanley Speir of Tennessee, was trapped inside. He was taken to the hospital with injuries and is said to be in fair condition.

I-520 is back open after crews worked most of the day to clean up after an accident.

A tanker truck flipped over near Ascauga Lake Road, spilling diesel fuel onto the roadway around 10:30 a.m. Ascauga Lake Road has since been reopened.

The driver, 59-year-old Stanley Speir of Tennessee, was trapped inside. He was taken to the hospital with injuries and is said to be in fair condition. Speir had a dog with him but the dog was able to get out of the car safely.

The semi is carrying liquid nitrogen, and crews have to be extremely careful getting it upright so it doesn't explode.

Everything within a half mile of the scene was evacuated, including the DMV and a gas station. That evacuation has since been lifted.


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