UPDATE: I-94 reopened following semi rollover
Authorities reopened eastbound I-94 just east of the Roberts exit about 10 a.m., Monday, just 75 minutes after a semi unit hauling utility poles strayed off the shoulder in a construction zone and overturned, spilling its load into a ditch and snarling traffic.
The truck driver was out and walking around when the first officer reached the scene. He was identified as Stephen P. Tussing, 60, of Waverly, Minn.
First responders from St. Croix Valley EMS had to park their rig several hundred yards east of the accident and walk the shoulder to reach the scene because of the heavy traffic.
Radio reports from an officer indicated the man may have suffered a broken bone, but he was seen climbing into the rear of an ambulance on his own. He was transported to an area hospital for evaluation.
Four units and at least eight employees from Jerry's Towing, headquartered just a few hundred yards west of the accident site, arrived ahead of some emergency units and immediately began working to clear the right lane and shoulder.
One large salvage wrecker worked from the parking lot of River States Truck & Trailer, winching the damaged trailer deeper into the south ditch until arrangements could be made to pluck at least two dozen 40-foot utility poles, scattered like matchsticks around the wreck. A second unit on the interstate righted the toppled semi-tractor and towed it away.
Meanwhile, eastbound traffic was stopped at Exit 4 and detoured north to Hwy. 12 and east to CTH T in Hammond, then south back to I-94. Roberts Police Chief Dan Burgess directed traffic north on Hwy. 65 to help clear several miles of backed up vehicles from the stretch of interstate beween Exit 4 and Roberts.
One officer indicated a sport utility vehicle may also have been involved in the accident.
The crash remains under investigation.