VIDEO: A truck is retrieved from a 60 foot drop-off

A tractor-trailer hauling 50,000 pounds of trash rolled down an embankment Monday along Interstate 83 in Fairview Township, injuring the driver and causing a 4½-hour closure of the southbound lanes.

Markice Stephens, 33, of Monmouth, N.J., was driving south about 9 a.m. through the construction area over the turnpike bridge in Fairview Township when his rig struck the guardrail, then rolled down the 60-foot embankment, landing on its wheels, state police said.

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And more closures are on the way, according to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spokeswoman Fritzi Schreffler.

Schreffler said the tractor-trailer was still there Monday evening, and will likely be removed Tuesday. She said PennDOT was unable to say on Monday evening whether that removal will require the entire highway to be shut down, and what time it will take place. But it will probably be after the morning rush hour, she said.

Markice Stephens, 33, of Monmouth, N.J., was driving south about 9 a.m. through the construction area over the turnpike bridge in Fairview Township when his rig struck the guardrail, then rolled down the 60-foot embankment, landing on its wheels, state police said.
Stephens was trying to climb the embankment when emergency crews arrived, said Fairview Township Fire Company Chief Bill Carlisle.
“He was lucky” he wasn’t seriously injured, Carlisle said.
Stephens suffered minor injuries and was taken to Harrisburg Hospital, state police said. He was later discharged, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Southbound traffic, warned by digital highway signs, was restricted to one lane for about an hour, then detoured for several hours onto Route 114.
Schreffler said on Monday evening that both PennDOT and state police will probably play a role in the removal of the tractor-trailer, but she wasn’t sure who will oversee the operation. It might be the company that owns the rig, she said.
Schreffler said the tractor-trailer wasn’t removed Monday because it takes time to arrange for a crane large enough to lift it. Because the truck isn’t blocking any traffic, Schreffler said, state officials decided it would be safer just to wait and do it when there’s daylight.
One of the rig’s saddle tanks was punctured during the rollover, and about 50 gallons of diesel fuel spilled out, Carlisle said. Firefighters built a dam to prevent the fuel from flowing into the nearby Yellow Breeches Creek, and a York County hazardous-materials crews provided additional cleanup materials.
About 60 percent of the truck’s load – trash packed mostly into clear plastic bags – spilled out onto the embankment, an official said. The smell of decaying trash permeated the air, growing stronger after a brief, heavy shower rolled through.
The truck, owned by Olexion Co. of Plainfield, N.J., was on its way from New Jersey to a recycling center in Manchester Township, police said.
Workers with wreckers tried unsuccessfully for hours to hoist the rig up the embankment, which was on about a 45-degree angle.
The interstate’s southbound lanes reopened about 3:10 p.m.

About Paul Kuehnel


Paul Kuehnel
has worked for the York Daily Record/Sunday News since 1984.

Follow him on Twitter @paulkuehnel.

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