Rt. 44 reopens following rollover truck crash

AVON — A truck filled with food rolled over on Avon Mountain Tuesday morning — snarling traffic for hours.  All lanes of Route 44 were reopened by 2:30PM.

Crews were called to the intersection of Avon Mountain Road with Wright Drive and Pine Tree Lane.

The box truck with Connecticut plates was heading west over the mountain when it crashed at about 6:30 Tuesday morning. On the surface of the road you can see swerving tires marks, followed by scrapes where the truck flipped and slid about 50 yards before coming to a stop. The driver, a man, was taken to the hospital but not seriously injured. “He was out sitting on the guard rail when officers arrived so he was able to remove himself from the truck,” said Lt. Kelly Walsh of the Avon Police Department.

The accident did cause quite a cleanup. “Luckily it was cool enough that the diesel wasn’t off-gassing,” said Fire Captain Aaron Gilber. That means fire crews didn’t have to use foam suppression foam on the hot road. Eventually, a crane tipped the truck back to the upright position. But smell of oil and diesel was in the air.

“Our major concern is going to be runoff and flammability,” said Capt. Gilber. “It was pretty much just dam, dike and divert the water from going into water sources.”

Hazmat crews supervised by the Department of Environmental Protection swept up the debris and absorbed the hazardous materials that spilled onto the roadway and diverted the runoff away from water and sewer drains. “You can see that there are a lot of people here. We have DOT, DEEP,” remarked Lt. Walsh.

It’s not clear what caused the crash. Trained commercial vehicle inspectors are investigating. “We also have an officer certified in truck inspection but he is working with them to do a full inspection,” said Lt. Walsh.

Avon Mountain is no stranger to ugly accidents. “Yeah it makes you think of the other crash a couple of years back where the truck lost his breaks and did all kinds of havoc. But yeah, you can get away from yourself on that hill coming down it,” said Greg Finley. He’s from Albany, NY, but visits Avon on the weekends.

In 2005 a rollover accident caused by a poorly maintained truck killed four people and injured 23 others. It led to changes in the roads design, including the installation of a runaway truck ramp toward the base of the mountain.

The crash snarled traffic trying to get over Avon Mountain for hours as the westbound lanes were shut down all the way into West Hartford. The UConn Health, West Hartford and Simsbury Fire Departments were all called to help Avon.
Check here for updates on traffic.