ROBERTSDALE — Traffic was blocked on Alabama 59 in Robertsdale for more than five hours on Thursday when a tractor trailer rig hauling gravel overturned near St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and School.
Robertsdale Police, along with fire crews from Robertsdale, Loxley and Silverhill responded to the accident which happened at approximately 6:45 a.m. Thursday.
Police Chief Brad Kendrick, who also serves as the city’s public safety coordinator said the rig, which was connected to a dump-trailer full of gravel, was traveling southbound on Alabama 59 when it ran off the road in front of St. Patrick’s Church.
“When he hit the deep ditch area there, he lost control and overturned, striking a utility pole and then struck the pole that connects the traffic light which runs between the church and the school,” Kendrick said. “I believe that if he had not struck that utility pole, we would probably have been working a fatality.”
Crews from all three fire departments worked together to free the driver, who was pinned in the cab, Kendrick said. They were able to get him free in about 45 minutes. Because of the weather, Kendrick said, they were not able to dispatch a helicopter for transport, so the driver was taken by ground to a local hospital.
“I do not believe his injuries were life-threating,” Kendrick said. “He is very lucky to be alive.”
Traffic was stopped on Alabama 59 between U.S. 90 and Wisconsin Street for approximately five hours while debris was being cleaned up along the highway, Kendrick said. Hazmat crews from the Alabama Department of Transportation were also dispatched to clean up diesel fuel that was spilled in the roadway.
Because the driver did not come back into the roadway after losing control of his rig, no other vehicles were involved in the accident, Kendrick said.
The accident knocked out power to St. Patrick’s Church and St. Patrick’s School, causing the school to close for the day, along with a nearby business, Robertsdale Power Equipment. Power had been restored to all areas by noon Thursday, Kendrick said.