FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — Drowsy driving may have caused the driver of a semitrailer to hit a guardrail and roll his truck, dumping 40,000 pounds of chicken feathers onto Interstate 5 in Federal Way, Washington and causing a backup that stretched for miles.
The crash happened on northbound I-5 around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Initially, four lanes were closed by the crash. All lanes were back open more than four hours later. At the height of the commute, traffic was backed up 17 miles.
Washington State Department of Transportation crews had a big mess to clean up. Heavy equipment was brought in to scoop up mounds of feathers, which were heading to Canada for agricultural use, but some of the mess had to be cleaned up by hand.
Nine hours later, crews were still cleaning up feathers in the I-5 median.
There was also the matter of the rolled over semi. A heavy-duty tow truck had to be brought in to bring the crashed rig upright again and then tow it from the scene.
Guardrail repairs were also needed.
The driver did not hit any other vehicles and was not hurt, but the Washington State Patrol said he told troopers he felt drowsy before the crash. He also said he woke up when he hit the guardrail.
The driver is facing a negligent driving citation, but WSP says if someone had been hurt or killed in the crash, he would have faced a vehicular homicide or assault charge.
The driver, his employer -- West Coast Reduction Ltd., out of Vancouver, B.C. -- or its insurance company will be billed for the guardrail damage and tow services, a trooper said.