FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (LOOTPRESS) – The driver of the tractor trailer which turned over early Thursday morning, causing extended shutdowns of the West Virginia Turnpike throughout the day, has been arrested on DUI charges.
The driver, identified as Dennis West, 54, of South Carolina, faces DUI charges after turning over a tractor trailer at the 62 ½ mile marker on the West Virginia Turnpike, releasing thousands of gallons of hazardous material and effectively shutting down all lanes of the turnpike for nearly a full day.
“The truck was carrying an amines solution, and the Charleston Fire Department hazardous materials team was called to assist with the removal of the materials,” read a release from the Kanawha County Commission. “12 totes carrying 275 gallons per tote of material was released from the truck and traveled off the WV Turnpike and spilled into Paint Creek. The material is very odorous.”
The WV Department of Environmental Protection was brought in to assist, along with the WV Department of Transportation, and several other entities who worked diligently throughout the day to return the turnpike to full functionality.
The hard work paid off on Thursday evening when, following the removal of the tractor from the northbound lane and the trailer from the southbound lane, all lanes of the West Virginia Turnpike were opened for travel.
West was charged in Fayette County, the side of the turnpike on which the accident occured.
When asked of the driver’s condition after providing an update on the reopening of the turnpike, Fayette County Sheriff Mike Fridley succinctly confirmed the charges of driving under the influence.
“The man who wrecked, he’s in jail,” said Fridley. “He got arrested for DUI.”
Governor Jim Justice confirmed the opening of the turnpike in a statement Thursday night.
“All lanes of the West Virginia Turnpike are OPEN following a hazardous chemical spill that shut down the highway near Pax in Fayette County,” Justice said, going on to express gratitude to those that responded to the accident.
“Thank you to the WV Department of Environmental Protection response team, Pax Fire Department, West Virginia State Police, Clean Harbors, West Virginia Parkways Authority crews, and others, for working all day to clean up the mess and detour traffic.”
LOOTPRESS coverage on the development of this story can be found here.