Semi rig crash on I-5 snarls Friday morning commute through Tacoma

KOMO/Air 4 photo

TACOMA, Wash. - The Friday morning commute turned nightmarish through Tacoma after a semi rig crashed into a barrier on Interstate 5, blocking lanes and spilling about 100 gallons of fuel.

State troopers and firefighters responded to the scene, in the northbound lanes of I-5 near the Tacoma Mall exit, at about 3:45 a.m. after receiving reports of serious crash.

A semi truck with a 40,000-pound load of dog food was found tipped over against the railing at the scene, gushing fuel from its tank.

Within minutes, long backups started forming. The mess also delayed some Sound Transit express routes.

The semi rig was eventually righted and towed away, but it took until about 7 a.m. to clean up the fuel spill and reopen all lanes to traffic. Long backups remain

A preliminary investigation found that the truck driver was following his GPS and thought he was supposed to take the 38th Street exit off I-5. But at the last second, he changed his mind and swerved, slamming into the barrier.

The crash happened in a construction zone, and cones at the scene ripped open the semi rig's fuel line as it careened along the barrier, spilling up to 100 gallons of fuel.

The 38th Street exit ramp remains closed.

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