published Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Chicken truck collides with chemical tractor-trailer snarling I-75 near Dalton

DALTON, Ga. -- The chicken took a lickin'.

Travelers headed south on Interstate 75 Friday were backed up for several miles most of the day after a tractor-trailer hit another truck, one loaded with frozen chicken, that was parked on the side of the road.

No one was seriously injured in the incident, and no citations had been issued as of Friday afternoon, according to Cpl. Kris Hemphill, with the Georgia State Patrol.

After his truck broke down, James Robert Bennett, of Savannah, Ga., parked his truck containing Tyson frozen chicken on the shoulder of I-75 near mile marker 324, Hemphill said. Bennett walked to the Flying J truck stop at the next exit, Hemphill said.

It is not clear why the driver in the second tractor-trailer veered off the road shortly before 7 a.m., hit the parked truck, then jack-knifed, Hemphill said.

Hemphill did not know the name of the second driver, who had a small cut on his face. His tractor-trailer was carrying wooden pallets and crushed cardboard.

Initial reports indicated a chemical was involved in the accident, but Hemphill said officers later determined the crash punctured the second tractor-trailer's fuel tanks.

Two interstate lanes were closed for several hours until wreckers towed away the jack-knifed trailer. One lane remained closed late Friday afternoon as officials worked to clean up the debris and transfer the chicken to another truck. The chicken had to be unloaded by hand, Hemphill said.

Hemphill said U.S. Department of Agriculture agents came to the accident to decide what to do with the chicken, which could be seen through the broken rear end of the tractor-trailer.

Marion Environmental Inc. was called to take care of the spilled fuel.

Bennett, the driver of the parked truck, had put out warning triangles, but it was not clear if his hazard lights were on, Hemphill said.

If the lights were not on, Bennett could be issued a citation, but that would be up to the investigating officer, Hemphill said.

The other driver would not be cited, he said.

Contact staff writer Mariann Martin at mmartin@timesfreepress.com or 706-980-5824.

about Mariann Martin...

Mariann Martin covers healthcare in Chattanooga and the surrounding region. She joined the Times Free Press in February 2011, after covering crime and courts for the Jackson (Tenn.) Sun for two years. Mariann was born in Indiana, but grew up in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Belize. She graduated from Union University in 2005 with degrees in English and history and has master’s degrees in international relations and history from the University of Toronto. While attending Union, ...

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