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Tractor trailer crash temporarily closes interchange ramp

Using their muscles and a forklift, workers hustled to move 40,000 tons of Kingsford charcoal after a 2007 Freightliner tractor-trailer turned over Saturday morning in north Jefferson City. The wreck happened at 5:50 a.m. on the ramp from U.S. 54 East to U.S. 63 North. The driver, Tracy Johnson of Independence, suffered minor injuries.

Using their muscles and a forklift, workers hustled to move 40,000 tons of Kingsford charcoal after a 2007 Freightliner tractor-trailer turned over Saturday morning in north Jefferson City. The wreck happened at 5:50 a.m. on the ramp from U.S. 54 East to U.S. 63 North. The driver, Tracy Johnson of Independence, suffered minor injuries. Photo by Kris Hilgedick.

A tractor-trailer carrying 40,000 pounds of charcoal rolled over and slid off the road Saturday morning while attempting to negotiate the ramp from eastbound U.S. 54 to northbound U.S. 63 in north Jefferson City.

Tracy Johnson, 53, of Independence, suffered minor injuries in the single-vehicle accident, which occurred at 5:50 a.m. She was driving a 2007 model Freightliner, which suffered severe damage, according to the Jefferson City Police Department.

The police investigation determined that Johnson — a driver for VTS Transportation, Inc., based in California — was traveling too fast for the curve.

“I was coming around the curve when the load shifted and I just tipped over. I didn’t slow down enough,” Johnson said after the accident. “The scary part was getting out of the truck when it overturned.”

Johnson said the ramp’s curve surprised her. “You just have to go exceptionally slow,” she said.

As the truck lay on its side, she climbed out the passenger-side window. She said she was nervous it would catch on fire.

Johnson said her shoulder and elbow were hurting after the wreck, but she refused treatment at the scene.

Although bags of charcoal were not littering the scene, it did take work crews a few hours to load out and move — with muscles and a forklift — the hundreds of bags of Kingsford charcoal.

Johnson said this was her first wreck in 14 years of driving.

“My first and my last,” she said. “I think I’m done driving.”

Previous coverage:

A tractor trailer rollover accident temporarily shut down a major highway ramp in north Jefferson City this morning but resulted in minor injuries.

Police responded around 5:50 a.m. to the interchange of U.S. 54 and 63 where a tractor trailer tipped over and slid off the ramp leading from eastbound 54 to northbound 63. The investigation determined that the truck, which was carrying an estimated 40,000 pounds of charcoal, was traveling too fast for the curve and rolled over.

The driver of the vehicle -- Tracy Johnson, 53, of Independence, Mo. -- complained of her arm hurting but declined medical treatment at the scene.

Police report the ramp had to be shut down for about an hour to set the vehicle upright and tow it away.

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