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Fallen tanker on SR 52 stalls morning traffic

Morning rush hour traffic on State Road 52 was snarled Friday after a tanker truck turned on its side and hit a power pole, blocking traffic in both directions for hours.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the truck was headed west on SR 52 about 5 a.m. when its driver, John W. Hochstetler, lost control just west of U.S. 41.

The truck rolled onto its right side, slid 181 feet, and crashed into a power pole on the south side of SR 52, the FHP reported. It slid 85 more feet, finally coming to rest in the eastbound lane.

The truck's collision with the power pole put out the traffic light at U.S. 41, the FHP said.

It was 8:55 a.m. before the eastbound lane of SR 52 was reopened. The westbound lane reopened at 9:52 a.m., the FHP reported.

"A lot cars were being diverted up Shady Hills Road to County Line Road," said Pasco sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll. He said traffic was congested but not backed up as he was on his way to work at 7:15 a.m.

Hochstetler, 60, of Polk, Ohio, was treated for minor injuries at Spring Hill Regional Hospital, the FHP reported. The cause of the crash was being investigated later Friday.

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