GREENE TOWNSHIP — A rig wreck slowed traffic on Interstate 80 in Clinton County early Wednesday.
It happened in the eastbound lanes near the Jersey Shore exit (192) around 9 a.m.
Nasty weather on the highway in Clinton County played a role in a crash that pinned a man for more than an hour, according to state police.
The stretch of Interstate 80 near Loganton lived up to its reputation as a sometimes treacherous road. A tractor-trailer headed east slid off the highway during a snow storm, flipped, and spilled its load.
The driver became pinned under the truck and fire crews worked against the clock to get him free.
“The tractor trailer was flatter than any I’ve seen for 35 years,” said Deputy Chief Dennis Long of the Sugar Valley Volunteer Fire Company.
The snow kept falling and it was cold so crews used a portable heater to keep the man from Ohio warm, while heavy machinery lifted the tractor-trailer enough to get to the victim.
“This kind of temperature, the body deteriorates quickly unprotected,” said Long. “He was talking to us the whole time, anxious to get out. (It) takes a while sometimes.”
For more than an hour, the driver was trapped in the cab with his body on the side, and his feet underneath the rig on the other side. It took just that long for fire crews to lift the vehicle off his body and get him to a nearby hospital.
“He was stuck. We were sitting here for a while. They tried pulling him out both sides. It was crazy,” said Zach Schneider of New York.
Schneider’s car slid off the road shortly after the truck. He was OK, and watched emergency crews as they freed the truck driver and put him in an ambulance.
“There’s a lot of people working hard through the snow and everything, I wanted to give them a round of applause when they were done, they deserve it.”
Officials say the driver should be OK and the truck cleanup will wait until the weather is better.