MILWAUKEE -- Just before 6:00 a.m. Friday morning, December 1st, a semi driver carrying a load of 45,000 pounds of bottled water lost control on the WIS 175 SB eastbound on-ramp to I-94 at the stadium interchange. The truck rolled and burst into flames and DOT closed the ramp and one left lane of I-94 EB for hours.
The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office said the semi was fully engulfed in flames and had leaked 50-60 gallons of diesel fuel. The diesel fuel had drained into a sewer that discharged below the freeway by the Menomonee River. The fuel ignited a small brush fire and an empty trailer in the parking lot below the freeway. The Hazardous Material Response team came to the scene and determined that the diesel fuel burned off and no containment was needed in the river.
Eager Brewers fans unintentionally added to the early morning gridlock.
"All the sudden you start seeing the signs," Gary Wieliczka from Kenosha said.
Wieliczka expected a slow going morning commute. That's why he went out of his way to drive around downtown Milwaukee. But instead of a slowdown, he ran into a stand-still.
"It was terrible," Wieliczka said. "It was stop and go and stop and go or stop. There were times when you just had to put it in park and hold up."
The crash took place less than a mile from Miller Park. The destination of carloads of Brewers fans headed to the annual Club House sale.
"I looked down. A lot times we were going two to four miles per hour," Ray Heritage from Janesville said.
Ray and Vicki Heritage made it all the way from Janesville to sit in park just feet from the ballpark exit.
"I saw a lot of people looking at their phones texting," Vicki said.
The crash scene was still closed when these Brewers fans left the ballpark. Driving away with the wreckage in their rear view mirror on a much quicker commute back home.
The semi driver suffered minor injuries and had gotten out of the truck before the fire. He showed no signs of impairment. All lanes were reported clear just before 2:00 p.m.