Spilled parcels bring I-95 to standstill

A tandem tractor-trailer that broke in half after it jack-knifed backed up traffic on Interstate -95 for more than four hours on Wednesday morning.

The Federal Express truck was pulling two trailers of parcels when the driver lost control shortly after 6 a.m. Wednesday, on the southbound side of I-95 near the Exit 5 ramp in Greenwich.

Assistant Fire Chief Tom Nixon said the driver was not injured and that a payloader was used to clean the roadway of damaged parcels. An 80-ton “rotator,” a specialized wrecker was used to pick up the cab of the truck and the portion of the first cab that was still attached, lift it over the guardrail and set it back onto its wheels, Nixon said.

Packages in the rear trailer were not affected, officials said. Fuel had to be drained from both of the truck’s saddle tanks before the operation to right it could begin. No fuel spilled onto the roadway. The fuel recovery was overseen by a New Haven contractor retained by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The driver, Gary Herring of Lebanon, Pa. was charged with driving too fast for conditions, according to the state police accident report.

Nixon said Greenwich firefighters remained on the scene for four hours. The right lane remained open during the incident and the center lane was cleared at about 8 a.m. Traffic during the morning rush hour backed up nearly five miles, to the Stamford-Darien border, state Department of Transportation officials said.

Frank Juliano