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2 truck accidents clog traffic on I-4

A tanker truck and a crane truck overturn in separate incidents, backing up traffic for hours along the highway.

Two unrelated accidents Monday on eastbound Interstate 4 tied up traffic for hours in Hillsborough County, though there were no fatalities.

Florida Highway Patrol officials said an eastbound tanker truck ran into the guardrail on the right side of the roadway at U.S. 98 about 4:40 a.m. After scraping along the guardrail for 435 feet, the truck overturned onto the embankment below and landed near the Exit 18 entrance ramp, troopers said.

The crash released 8,000 gallons of diesel fuel, which was mopped up by a hazardous materials response team, troopers said. The driver, Ronald Roberts of Bradenton, was hospitalized at Lakeland Regional Hospital for minor injuries.

Charges are pending, and no other vehicles were involved, troopers said. It was not clear what caused the crash, they said.

Eastbound traffic was diverted off I-4 and around the crash scene for hours.

At 11 a.m., an accident involving two semitrailer trucks forced troopers to close eastbound I-4 for the second time Monday. Just east of the 22nd Street exit, the driver of a Mack truck with an attached crane lost control on the wet highway, spun 360 degrees and overturned in the road.

Debris from the crane truck hit and damaged another semitrailer truck. No one was injured in the accident, although the crane truck, worth an estimated $500,000, was totaled.

Troopers routed eastbound traffic at 22nd Street until they reopened I-4 at 2:15 p.m. Traffic was backed up on the interstate for about 5 miles, the Highway Patrol estimated.

On Sunday, traffic had been backed up for miles along eastbound I-4 for nearly 11 hours after a 14-vehicle accident left one person dead, eight injured and closed a 2-mile stretch of the interstate near Plant City.