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Traffic moving after hours-long interstate shutdown

12 January 2018

Authorities have shut down both lanes of Interstate 65 in southern in after a fiery crash involving three semitrailers spilled a hazardous chemical and prompted evacuations.

The entire interstate was shut down in both directions just before 8:30 a.m., with lanes not reopening until after 1 p.m.

Wheeles said a semi driver was not paying attention and hit the rear of a second semi, which caused the second semi to hit a third semi.

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According to police, one of the trucks was carrying four different types of hazardous materials that spilled and mixed.

Sgt. Stephen Wheeles noted that the fire situation on I-65 is continuing to deteriorate, saying that portions of the highway have been closed down. The interstate there was closed for hours following the Wednesday crash.

Once the fire was extinguished, crews were able to clean up the scene.

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State police briefly reopened the left lane around 10:30 a.m. and said the right lane was expected to reopen Wednesday afternoon. Traffic was being diverted off I-65 at exit 50. Wheeles said the cleanup crews are dealing with an explosion risk.

"The crews have made the determination that the best course of action at this point is to let it burn itself out", Wheeles said.

A passenger in Okpeh's vehicle, Senesie Kuyateh, of Jacksonville, FL was injured in the collision and was transported to Scott Memorial Hospital with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.

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Traffic moving after hours-long interstate shutdown