Crash closes multiple lanes of Highway 49 - - Jackson, MS

4-vehicle crash stalls Highway 49 traffic

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RANKIN COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A tractor trailer crash on Highway 49 in Florence shut down traffic and prompted an environmental cleanup of the scene.

The accident occurred around 2:30 p.m. forcing the north and south bounds lanes to be closed intermittently and traffic to be rerouted.

Rankin county officials closed the highway at eight o'clock at Gunter Road to finally remove the big rig.

The 18 wheeler crashed through a tree line and plummeted down the embankment into a ditch.

The cab practically disintegrated, but miraculously the unidentified driver survived.

"We transported four to the hospital, all minor injuries," said Florence Fire Department Chief Chip Taylor.

The tractor trailer was traveling south on Highway 49 when it crossed the median and both northbound lanes.

It is not known if the wet roadway and fog were a factor.

Three other vehicles were involved in the accident.

The big rig was carrying 40,000 pounds of chicken.

Hazardous materials crews were on scene working late into the night removing diesel fuel that flowed into a ditch and beneath the roadway to the other side of the highway.

"It's loaded with chicken, and we've lost about 300 gallons of diesel down in the ditch. So we've got to get the chicken unloaded and then get all the fuel cleared up," said Chief Taylor.

Hinds county inmates assisted in unloading the poultry from the tractor trailer.

Investigators said the driver was headed to a port in Louisiana.

This is the second major accident involving an 18 wheeler that Rankin county authorities have investigated on Highway 49 in the Florence area in a week's time .

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