18-wheeler wreck cleanup on I-20 took all day - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

18-wheeler wreck cleanup on I-20 took all day

Just some of the wreckage that had to be cleared from the interstate. Photo by Jamey Boyum KLTV. Just some of the wreckage that had to be cleared from the interstate. Photo by Jamey Boyum KLTV.
HARRISON COUNTY (KLTV) -

A wreck involving two 18-wheelers had I-20 westbound completely blocked off all day.

It happened at the 603 mile marker, which is about a mile west of the FM 450 exit in Harrison County just after 3 a.m.

The driver of a double trailer 18 wheeler lost control and turned the truck on its side. Another semi with a load of lumber couldn’t slow down in time and plowed straight through one of the trailers sending computer parts and lumber all over the interstate. Both of the drivers were transported to the hospital.

The crash left two twisted trucks and their loads strewn all over I-20. The mess took all day to clean up.

Workers at the scene said the debris went on for about a football field and a half. Ronnie Oney of Ronnie’s Wrecker Service says this is one of the worst he’s seen in his 20 years of business.

“Is this one of the biggest ones you’ve ever had to clean up?” I asked Oney.

“This is one of the biggest, yes, sir,” he replied.

“Where do you start? What do you do?” I asked.

“Shoot, I just get out here and see what equipment I need and just get them to come out here. This is a mess. We’ve been out here since 3:30 this morning,” Oney stated.

He started cutting a path by pushing debris aside so his wreckers could get to the wrecked trucks. It was his turn in the wrecker company rotation.

“There’s like five of us. Each one of us gets a call every time and this would be my call,” Oney explained.

He’s seen a lot of wrecks and says he's seen one like this before.

“This is probably twice I’ve worked one like this where a truck’s upside down and another one just comes and runs into it because it’s just in the middle of the road,” Oney recalled.

The road was impassable. Traffic was rerouted down FM 968 or down 450 to 80 through Hallsville, then back onto I-20 at Loop 281 in Longview.

It’s about four miles or about three minutes at interstate speed. It was nearly a half hour detour speed. Traffic was piling up, and so was debris.

“We just pile it up. I bring out what equipment I need to clean it up; and all the guys I need to clean it up with,” Oney said.

He’s also a partner in R&G Construction, so he has more equipment for mess removal.

“I just take it back to my storage yard that I have and then insurance will come and look at it. There was an insurance man out here earlier, but he’ll be back,” Oney revealed.

As the last of the debris is hauled off, Oney gets the sweeper into play.

“Instead of everybody out here with push brooms, that thing right there does it a lot quicker,” Oney pointed out.

And that plus about twelve hours of work equals an opened interstate.

They also use Oil Dry to soak up fuel and oil spilled on the road to help prevent vehicles from sliding around.

The interstate was opened back up late in the afternoon.

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