Police say semi driver who overturned was drunk - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Police say semi driver who overturned was drunk

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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

ALBANY,  GA (WALB) – Traffic on an Albany bypass exit ramp was blocked for three hours Wednesday night after a suspected drunk driver's 18-wheeler overturned.

Police say his alcohol level was five times the legal limit for a commercial truck driver. Emergency crews dealt with bitter cold as they cleaned up the mess.

The legal limit for a commercial truck driver is .04 meaning the trucker from North Carolina blew a .2. Emergency crews spent three hours cleaning up the scene as they transferred 42,000 pounds of cargo from the wrecked semi to another one.

It took an assembly line of men and a lot of teamwork to move 1,050 bags of cargo.

"Basically what we're trying to do now is trying to off load the trailer so the wrecker can turn both the tractor and the trailer over," said Chief Kelly Harcrow with the Albany Fire Department.

Police say 43-year-old John Christopher Quinn was driving drunk and went around the Clark Avenue exit ramp too fast. He overturned, blocking both lanes of traffic on the ramp and sending his female passenger 39-year-old Dawn Johnston to the hospital.

"His load shifted a bit as he came around this curve which caused the trailer to flip and he had no control," said Harcrow.

Police directed traffic away from the scene for nearly three hours while firefighters, workers with the wrecker service, and DOT crews put their muscles to the test.

"We're just trying to get things cleaned up taking all the oil dry and taking it out, stacking it," said Quality Wrecker Service employee Chris Burt.

After stacks were made a forklift picked them up one by one.

"You definitely get a work out. It's the only time as cold as it is you get wanting to take your jacket off because you are sweating so much!" he said.

There was one convenient aspect about this particular incident. The tractor trailer was carrying oil dry and lots of it. And they were able to use that product to clean up parts of the oil spill.

Crews finally were able to flip the truck back on its wheels. Police then further inspected the cab, pulling out beer cans during the process.

After a cold night of work the roadways opened back up around 8PM.

Quinn is in the Dougherty County jail charged with DUI, failure to maintain lane, and driving too fast for conditions.

Firefighters told us they've worked several wrecks with overturned vehicles at that same spot on the bypass over the years.


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