30 November, 1988
Princeton Borough truck accident shuts Rt. 206
By Emily J. Hornday
PRINCETON BOROUGH — A portion of Route 206 was closed all day yesterday and remained closed last night after a tractor-trailer swerved to avoid a collision with a car then struck a utility pole, spilling at least 100 gallons of diesel fuel onto the roadway and downing major power lines, borough police said.
The accident happened about 4:30 a.m., at the intersection of Route 206 and Leigh Avenue, borough police said.
Both traffic lanes of Route 206 were closed until about 12:25 p.m., when the northbound lane was reopened. The southbound lane was expected to be reopened at 10 last night, said borough police Capt. Thomas. Michaud.
Traffic was rerouted from the accident site, Michaud said. No major traffic problems were reported because of the closure, he said. The driver of the tractor-trailer, identified as Virgil Blalock, 58, of Delran, was traveling northbound on Route 206 when he hit his truck’s brakes to avoid a collision with a car that had begun to pull out in front of him from Leigh Avenue, Michaud said.
BLALOCK AVOIDED the collision with the vehicle, but lost control of his truck and jack-knifed off the roadway, striking a utility pole and downing its wires.
“The impact broke the pole,” Michaud said.
The impact with the pole caused the fuel tank on Blalock’s truck to be ripped open, spilling its contents onto the roadway.
Complicating matters, Michaud, said, the electrical lines attached to the broken pole were main power lines.
“With the pole gone,” Michaud said, “the trailer supported the (downed) wires and electrical power was not lost to customers.” Michaud said he had no information regarding the car, or its driver, that caused Blalock to swerve to avoid a collision.
BLALOCK’S TRUCK wasn’t removed from the scene until 12:30 p.m. because of the live wires, said Michaud.
“It was a delicate job,” he said. Members of the Department of Environmental Protection checked the fuel spill and a cleanup crew from Perth Amboy was called to the scene, Michaud said.
The delay in reopening the south-bound lane was caused by replacing the broken utility pole, Michaud said.
“Fortunately,” he said, “everything has turned out alright. It could have been a real disaster.” Blalock was treated and released at The Medical Center at Princeton, Mi-chaud said.
Michaud was confident traffic flow would return to normal in the affected area by late last night.