LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Interstate 75 became a scene of tragedy Monday afternoon when a tanker truck carrying a load of liquid sodium sulfate overturned, killing the driver.
The tanker, driven by Shawn Sweatt, 40, of Pell City, Ala., was traveling from Alabama to Ohio when it crashed on I-75 around 4:45 p.m. on Monday afternoon.
Officials say the truck was traveling northbound when the driver came up on a slow-moving vehicle in the right lane near the 37 mile marker. Sweatt swerved to avoid the vehicle and his 2001 Kenworth Tractor Trailer left the road and overturned on its top.
Law enforcement officials believe the load Sweatt was hauling could possibly be a contributing factor in the vehicle overturning, stating as Sweatt swerved to avoid the other vehicle the liquid load probably shifted.
Investigators say the liquid being transported was not hazardous.
The accident, which shut down the northbound lanes of I-75 for several hours, had traffic backed up in the area for miles and caused traffic to be diverted off the Interstate onto U.S. 25. The interstate reopened at approximately 2 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Drugs and alcohol are not suspected to have been a factor in the crash. Sweatt was pronounced dead at the scene by the Laurel County Corner Doug Bowling.
Assisting on scene were: Vehicle Enforcement Officers Sergeant Mike Taylor, Sergeant Greg Reams, Officer David Burton, Officer Joey Ray Caldwell, Laurel County Fire Department, Laurel County EMS, Laurel County Rescue Squad, Laurel County Corners Office and Laurel County Emergency Management.