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Propane Truck Crash Closes I-84 East in Southbury, CT.

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MIDDLEBURY, CT. -- A loaded propane tanker and a small box truck collided on rain-swept Interstate 84 East on Monday afternoon, closing the highway about four hours, state police said.

Eastbound traffic had to be detoured off the highway, causing a backup that stretched for miles before the leaking tanker was off-loaded and the road was reopened about 6 p.m.

Both drivers were ticketed for the accident.

The tanker driver, Clifton Meadows, 50, of Bethlehem, was cited for traveling too fast for conditions and driving with defective equipment, while Michael Rinaldi, 34, of James Street, Danbury, who was behind the wheel of the second vehicle, was cited for driving without a license.

Police said the tanker, which was carrying 1,500 gallons of propane, had a damaged right rear wheel and Meadows was taking it to Waterbury for repairs. Both trucks were traveling at between 55 and 60 miles per hour when the Meadows lost control on a curve.

The tanker, which was in the right lane, veered across the highway, then back, and hit the right side of the box truck, before spinning around 180 degrees and coming to rest against the wire guard rail on the right side of the highway.

The tanker began leaking, and Middlebury firefighters were called to the scene.

Police closed the highway and diverted eastbound traffic off at Exit 16 in Southbury. Troopers re-routed eastbound vehicles trapped between Exit 16 and the accident scene back along the highway, and they also got off at Exit 16.

Gas was unloaded from the tanker truck without incident, police said.

Meadows was taken to Waterbury Hospital after complaining of back pain, state police said.

From News Times