Truck driver arrested after fire shuts down I-95 in Old Lyme - WNEM TV 5

Truck driver arrested after fire shuts down I-95 in Old Lyme

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Connecticut State Police said they arrested the driver of a tractor trailer carrying frozen crab legs after the vehicle caught fire and shut down Interstate 95 in both directions for hours Friday morning.

Around 4 a.m. members of the Connecticut State Police responded to reports of a tractor-trailer brake fire on I-95 south between exits 71 and 70 in Old Lyme.

As a result of the fire, the entire vehicle, which was carrying 80,00 pounds of frozen crab legs, was engulfed in flames.

Nearly 200 gallons of diesel fuel spilled onto the highway, which had to be cleaned up by Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Officials said it wasn't safe to reopen the interstate until all of the fuel was cleared from the road. While crews cleaned and off loaded cargo, drivers watched it all.

"I hit the traffic and it was about all the way down to exit 74 and just stopped," said one driver. "Now I have to figure a way how to get to work."

The state Department of Transportation also responded to the scene to assist with the highway closure and resulting detours.

The northbound side of the interstate was reopened about an hour after the incident, and the southbound side of the highway reopened after 11 a.m.

State police said based on evidence from the scene, driver statements and a truck inspection, the driver, 54-year-old Myron Hawkins, of California, was arrested for reckless driving and was held on $1,000 bond.

He is expected in New London Superior Court for arraignment.

The crash resulted in plenty of backups on the back roads.

"I had the heads up from the Channel 3 text," said Tricia Baran of East Lyme. "It wasn't bad until we got to the back roads."

There was the back up on Four Mile River Road, where state police detoured traffic off the highway and towards Route 1.

It was tough when the sun came up that was the worst part," Baran said.

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