Truck Crash Spills 50,000 Pounds of Potatoes on Interstate

Clean-up crews had to sort through the potatoes as some were soaked in diesel fuel

Incident closed a portion of Interstate 77 for hours on Friday.

A tractor-trailer crash on Friday morning in Charlotte, North Carolina, sent thousands of potatoes across the highway and effectively shut down a portion of Interstate 77 for several hours.

Clean-up crews from Carolina Environmental worked to clean up the 50,000 pounds of potatoes on the road. They had to separate the clean potatoes from the ones contaminated with fuel and oil. The clean potatoes were hauled onto trucks to be taken to a landfill, reports WSOC TV Channel 9.

Lee Shank, president of Carolina Environmental, said, “You basically had diesel fuel and oil petroleum products that are mixed with some of the potatoes. Some of the potatoes we had to either clean or will be disclosed as off-spec food product food waste. It sounds simple but we actually go through [the potatoes] and see where the diesel fuel stopped, and all the potatoes passed that are clean.”


The driver told two rescuers that he had fell asleep behind the wheel. He is expected to recover from injuries sustained, and officials will determine whether or not he will be charged. Sergeant Jeff Nash says, “I'm sure you've got failure to maintain lane control. Why he ran off the roadway, we're still investigating that.”