A semi truck transporting watermelons jackknifed in the westbound I-10 tunnel about 1:30 p.m., and caused a traffic backup for hours.
The highway was completely closed and then partially closed at I-10 and 7th Street past rush hour. Traffic was snarled most of the day.
The fruit spilled all over the tunnel. Crews had to gather all the produce, tow the semi, and then rinse the roadway with hoses. What made everything worse was the fact that the fruits and vegetables were expired, rotting, and smelly -- unsold at valley Wal-Marts, on their way to a farm for composting.
According to DPS spokesman Carrick Cook, the truck was trying to avoid traffic when it hit the tunnel wall and jackknifed.
Lizandro Escobar, the driver of the semi, was not hurt.
"I noticed sparks in front of me, so I guess everybody panicked, and slammed on the brakes, and for me to avoid hitting someone from the back -- I hit the wall," said Escobar, who works for Imperial Western Products, based out of Buckeye.
"That's why I'm kind of sore over here, my arm. But I'm okay."
There was slight damage to the tunnel wall, and ADOT engineers had to come examine the damage to make sure everything was structurally sound.
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