Coffee beans, brake fluid a recipe for Friday traffic snarls

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By Katie Hogin and Terri Likens, Roane Newspapers
A Friday morning truck accident on Interstate 40 led to headaches for motorists all day and into the night.


A collision involving a parked tractor trailer rig and one that was moving happened around 8 a.m. on the eastbound lane just east of Gallaher Road.

The collision resulted in a spill of coffee beans and slippery brake fluid.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol reported from the scene early Friday morning that Charles Brown had parked his rig loaded with coffee beans along the side of the interstate to change drivers when it was struck by a moving tractor-trailer driven by Timothy Bates.

No one was seriously hurt in the crash. Bates told THP officials at the scene he planned to seek medical attention later in the day.

Though reports from the Tennessee Department of Transportation indicated early in the day that the interstate would be cleared by 11 a.m., eastbound traffic was stalled throughout the day.

Numerous emergency agencies were involved in the overwhelming effort to keep traffic moving.

At midday, Harriman police blocked the Midtown ramp eastbound onto the interstate, but then removed their barrier a short time later, and traffic seemed to be moving again.

Around 2 p.m., traffic was backing up again at the Midtown exit, taking drivers nearly an hour to travel the few miles between there and Lawnville Road.

Kingston police were blocking people from getting off at Exit 352 at that point.

The Pilot gas station parking lot at the Lawnville Road exit was full of cars as people pulled off, many of them hurrying to the restrooms.

A clerk said business had been booming all day because of the backup.

Scott Stout of the Roane County Emergency Management Office was among those directing traffic in Midtown.

“We’ve just assisted a small amount,” he said, referring questions to the Roane County Sheriff’s Office and Tennessee Highway Patrol. “We were also out at Lawnville.”

Stout did say some brake fluid that was being transported by one of the trucks had spilled, complicating the cleanup.

Tim Phillips, chief sheriff’s deputy, said THP officials were managing the traffic flow.

“It’s obviously tied us up and kept us from other things,” Phillips said. “We’ve had a full plate today.”

At one point, TDOT officials issued a bulletin saying the mess would be cleared by 3:30 p.m.

Around 3 p.m., Phillips said TDOT had changed that report, adding another 10-12 hours to the tie-ups.

“Three-thirty is fixing to come and go,” he said.

Debris from the crash damaged another moving vehicle. The front fender of  Ten Mile resident Brian Hosford’s Honda Civic was struck by flying debris as he drove past the collision.