30,000 Pounds of Bananas and Other Spills

When "food trucks" go bad.


It was just after dark when the truck started down the hill that leads into Scranton Pennsylvania.
Carrying thirty thousand pounds of bananas.
Carrying thirty thousand pounds (hit it Big John) of bananas.

— "30,000 Pounds of Bananas," Harry Chapin

A food spill in Scranton, Penn., once inspired singer-songwriter, Harry Chapin to write a song about a truck driver who lost control and spilled 30,000 pounds of bananas. But food spills happen more often than you may think. There's even a site dedicated to spills. It makes you consider the effort, time, and willpower it takes to deliver food across the country on graded, curving, crowded, weather-beaten highways to ensure food is on local supermarket shelves. Consider the following food accidents.

 

80,000 The number of pounds of food that spilled out onto Highway 86 in Indio, Calif., near the intersection of Avenue 50 when two rigs collided in December 2010.

 

60,000 The number of pounds of Idaho potatoes supposedly spilled on I-90 in Coeur D'Alene, ID, in April 2007.

 

45,000 The number of pounds of Bud Light bottles that spilled on the road and into neighboring yards when a truck on Highway 35 in DeKalb County, Ala., turned over and slid into a concrete wall in July 2010. This notorious spot known as "Joe's Truck Stop," isn't a truck stop, but a concrete wall built along the highway by a man named Joe Faulkner because he lived nearby and was sick of trucks wrecking in his yard.

 

45,000 The number of pounds of chocolate, ice cream, hot dogs, and deli meats that spilled onto Highway 16 in Tacoma, Wash., in June 2009, when a semi tipped over a car on the curve from the eastbound Highway 16 to northbound Interstate 5.

 

40,000 The number of pounds of Miller beer cans that spilled onto the median of Chicago's western suburbs when a truck rolled over on the ramp of the southbound Tri-State Tollway (I-294) to the eastbound Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) in June 2009. Yes, 99 bottles of beer jokes followed.

 

28,000 The number of pounds of Double Stuf Oreos that spilled onto Interstate 80 in Morris, Ill., out of an overturned tractor trailer in May 2008.

 

5,000 The approximate number of pounds of honey that spilled on the ramp from the inbound Eisenhower Extension (Interstate Highway 290) to the southbound tollway (I-294) in March 2010. A semitrailer carrying the honey had its brakes lock, it struck the right wall, tipped, split open and spilt a quarter of its 25,000-pound load of honey jars.

 

4,800 The number of gallons of red wine that spilled on Highway 25 south of Paicines, Calif., in July 2009, when a truck ran off the east edge of the road, overturned, and ruptured its tank.

 

2004 The year that a truck carrying flour supposedly crashed and spilled flour all over I-95 in Laurel, MD. "Crew used brooms and leafblowers to remove the flour. They were reluctant to use water because of the mess it could have created."

 

2,000 The number of gallons of milk that overturned and froze on Route 101A in Nashua, N.H., in January 2010. when a tractor-trailer hit a curb on the off-ramp and punctured a tire causing the truck to tip over. You can only imagine the "don't cry over" jokes that followed.

 

52 The number of pallets of Jell-O and pudding cups that spilled in Floyd County, IA, in November 2010, when an eastbound semi on Rudd Park Road at the intersection with Highway 27 failed to negotiate a curve, sending semi and trailer into a ditch. J-E-LL-Uh-Oh, indeed.

 

42 The mile marker on U.S. 27 in Florida near which a truck overturned on the highway median spilling Gatorade bottles and causing traffic delays in May 2008. "All we need is some ice and we can cool it down," quipped Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Mark Wysocky.


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