WILLIAMSTON, MI: A truck driver died from injuries suffered when he rolled over and crashed his semi truck on a Michigan highway Monday afternoon. The truck accident happened on Interstate 96 in the vicinity of Williamston, Michigan in Ingham County. The area is east of Lansing in the central section of the state, 78 miles west of Detroit and 234 miles northeast of Chicago, Illinois.
Shortly after 2:00 p.m. Monday afternoon, 57 year old Stuart Conaway, of Brandon, FL which is 17.5 miles from Tampa, was driving a tractor trailer filled with boxes of cereal, headed eastbound on I-96. Mr. Conaway began to lose control of his 18 wheeler as he was driving the stretch of the highway between Okemos Road and Williamston Road.
As he reached the area near mile marker #117 Conaway’s tractor trailer went off the highway and crashed into the highway guardrail. The semi truck flipped over on its side and skidded for about a hundred feet before coming to a stop.
Mr. Conaway was ejected from the semi truck during the rollover. He had already died by the time law enforcement officials reached him, and was pronounced dead at the scene of the truck accident.
Witnesses told Ingham County Sheriff’s officers that the truck suddenly began to move “all over the road and then he crashed”. There was reportedly no fog or no ice on the road at the time of the truck rollover accident, and weather is not considered a factor. No other vehicles were involved in the truck accident.
Michigan State Police closed the eastbound section of I-96 between Okemos Road and Williamston Road, and rerouted traffic off the highway. They sent drivers to Grand River Road and then back onto the highway at Williamston Road. The road was closed for over nine hours.
Some sources reported that the 18 wheeler lost about 50 gallons of diesel fuel when it crashed and flipped over. To avoid a serious diesel fuel spill, workers with the Ingham County Hazardous Materials Team drilled into the gas tank on the tractor trailer and drained out the remaining fuel before attempting to upright the rig. This took several hours and was one of the main reasons the highway was shut down for so long.
A local towing company brought in work crew who spent several hours unloading the cereal boxes from the crashed tractor trailer. Once the cargo was unloaded the towing company up-righted the truck back onto its wheels.
The guardrail at the truck accident site was flattened and would have to be removed and replaced. In addition, a small bridge may have been damaged. Authorities from the Michigan Department of Transportation were inspecting the bridge to see if it had been compromised and if it was still safe for travel.
The big rig truck rollover is still being investigated. An autopsy is planned for Tuesday to determine if there was a medical condition that may have led to the truck crash. No charges or citations have been made at this time.