Overturned tanker leaking hazardous, flammable liquid; I-40 closed in Cheatham County

Traffic

CHEATHAM COUNTY, Tenn. — Traffic was backed up for miles on Interstate 40 Friday after an 18-wheeler overturned, spilling a hazardous liquid. 
 
“It was absolutely bumper to bumper just crawling along,” said driver Kyle Goode. 
 
Goode says a quick trip to the store turned into a headache. 
 
“It’s about two and a half miles,” Goode said. “It took over an hour.” 
 
“It was madness because I really didn’t understand what was going on,” said driver Will Smith. 
 
Smith was heading to Memphis when he got stuck in standstill traffic for two and a half hours.  
 
“I got detoured,” Smith said. “There’s no signs to let me know where I’m going so I’m lost. So, it’s a little confusing right now.” 
 
“We sat in line at least a good three hours,” said driver Barbara Simington. 
 
The traffic jam started after 9 a.m. when the 18-wheeler overturned, spilling a flammable liquid used in dental work, methacrylic acid. 
 
Exits 182 to 196 were shut down. 
 
“We’re working aggressively to try to get it open without obviously compromising anybody’s safety,” said Lt. Travis Plotzer with the Tennessee Highway Patrol. 
 
Even back roads that went around the interstate were bumper to bumper. 
 
“You’re gonna have everything from Bellevue all the way down to the 840 interchange closed where you can’t get on the interstate,” Plotzer said. 
 
Despite the inconvenience, drivers are trying to stay positive. 
 
“Things happen, out of our control.  
 
The driver of the 18-wheeler was pinned inside and later air-lifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he’s in critical condition. 

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