MILWAUKEE -- The operator of a semi that rolled over in the northbound lanes of I-41/US 45 near Mayfair Road has been issued citations for unreasonable/imprudent speed/failure to control and truck following too closely.
The wreck happened around 4:20 p.m. on Tuesday, July 17 -- and blocked all lanes of traffic. That required the closure of all traffic northbound from the Zoo Interchange. Southbound lanes were closed as well for a time. I-41/45 northbound didn't reopen until six hours later.
The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office said in a news release that the Wauwatosa Fire Department responded due to a possible natural gas leak from the semi, which used compressed natural gas (CNG) as fuel. This necessitated closing all southbound lanes of traffic and nearby on-ramps in addition to the northbound lanes. The Wauwatosa Police Department assisted with the numerous closures.
Deputies determined that when traffic ahead of the semi suddenly slowed, the driver was unable to stop and struck the vehicle in front of the semi, causing that vehicle to strike two other vehicles. The semi veered left, struck the median wall and then crossed all lanes of traffic and flipped on its side. The truck lists to Contract Transport Services out of Green Bay.
In a statement, Acting Milwaukee County Sheriff Richard Schmidt said the following:
"This semi driver created a rush hour nightmare for thousands of people. Semi drivers know they need a greater stopping distance. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of slowing down and allowing space from the cars ahead of you."
The driver of the semi was treated at the scene by the Wauwatosa Fire Department for a minor arm injury. The driver of one of the cars that was struck was transported to the hospital for back, neck and shoulder pain.
Sheriff’s deputies certified to do truck inspections will conduct an inspection of the semi.
Southbound lanes opened after a one hour and 10 minute closure. Northbound lanes didn't open until 10:20 p.m. -- six hours later.