Tanker explodes on I-75 north of Detroit

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

A tanker explosion on Interstate 75 has destroyed a part of the Nine Mile Road overpass in Hazel Park, Michigan, a northern suburb of Detroit. One man, truck driver Ronald Martinez, has been killed and only 4 injuries have been reported.

I-75 (red) in Michigan

On July 15, 2009 at about 8:15 PM EST, a tanker carrying thousands of gallons of gasoline collided with a semi-truck from Meijer grocery stores, causing an explosion that resulted in heavy black smoke that could be seen for miles.

It is believed that the tanker was clipped from behind by driver Saied Haidarian-Shahri, 27, of nearby Clawson. The tanker's two parts broke in half when a semi-truck rammed into the gasoline-filled tanker and it exploded. The driver of the semi-truck sustained only minor injuries.

Saied Haidarian-Shahri was a relatively new driver, getting his license within the past 6 months. Reports say he was doing 70 mph in a 50 mph zone, called the "9 Mile Curve", along the Chrysler Freeway. There were no traffic violations on his license. He has been blamed for causing the accident.

The explosion resulted in the collapse of the Nine Mile Road overpass over the freeway. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has decided that the rest of the overpass cannot be saved.

MDOT has closed down the freeway between Interstate 696 and Eight Mile Road both northbound and southbound. Local streets surrounding the site have been closed too. This is expected to cause trouble for commuters who travel one of the most used freeways in the metro area.

About 2,000 residents of Hazel Park are now without power due to the accident.


Sources

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