CLEVELAND– A major highway into downtown Cleveland is back open after a large traffic mishap shut it down for several hours.
The interstate was littered with dozens of disabled vehicles after a truck began spilling sharp pieces of metal across the highway.
“I was heading down the road here and all of a sudden I heard a big crack, just like sheet metal went through,” said driver Mike Holloway.
Around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, an ODOT traffic camera captured images of a dump truck travelling north on Interstate 77, spilling sharp pieces of metal across the highway, beginning at Grant Avenue.
“We were going downtown on 77 north and tires just started blowing out man,” said driver Kenyatta Hamilton.
“I seen a car pulled over, he had a flat. Another car on the side of the road had a flat and I’m like ‘Oh no.’ whatever it was is giving you flats, come up here it was a dead stop,” said driver Jason Parkinson.
In just a matter minutes, dozens of vehicles were damaged with at least one flat tire, and sometime two. Parkinson’s car lost three.
“I moved up a couple inches, I could feel the flats. I pulled over and I had two and then the front one went down,” Parkinson said.
The Cleveland Division of Fire estimated about 100 cars were damaged, while Cleveland police said the number was high, but unknown.
“A bunch of metal in the road, you know, got my both back tires blown out,” Hamilton said.
Cleveland police said the driver of the dump truck exited the highway and eventually stopped on the ramp to Interstate 490 westbound. The debris and number of cars littering the highway forced police to shut down I-77 from as far south as Interstate 480.
“At first, I’m like how do all these cars have flat tires? I start walking up the road and you could see it all over the road. Hundreds and hundreds of little pieces of shards of metal… It’s not like a nail where you can go get it plugged, it’s like cut, cut,” said driver Pat Kelly.
The highway remained shut down for hours as tow trucks drivers removed vehicles, ODOT crews cleared debris from the roadway, and Cleveland police and Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers spoke to the driver.
The driver was issued federal citations for commercial driver’s license violations and load violations, Cleveland police said. The highway patrol took the driver and the truck out of service.
Anyone whose vehicle was damaged during the incident should file a report with Cleveland police here.