WILKES-BARRE TWP. — A tractor-trailer driver was trapped in his cab for nearly two hours after it rolled over and careened down an embankment along the northbound lane of Interstate 81 early Tuesday.
The crash at about 6 a.m. during a heavy rainstorm snarled traffic on area roadways for the morning commute.
Emergency crews from Wilkes-Barre Township, Hanover Township, Fairview Township and Ashley responded to the crash that involved a tractor-trailer hauling sand and a vehicle near mile marker 166, just past the Wilkes-Barre exit and in the vicinity of Blackman Street.
The rig overturned and went down an embankment as the second vehicle spun and struck a guide rail. The driver of the second vehicle was transported to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township for a shoulder injury.
Emergency vehicles lined the northbound lane of the interstate as first responders battled the steep embankment and heavy rain. A physician from Geisinger assisted at the scene as it took nearly two hours to extricate the tractor-trailer driver from the wreckage.
Two cranes from Ayers Towing removed the tractor-trailer.
State police did not release the names of the drivers involved.
Police closed the on-ramp to Interstate 81 at Route 309 in Ashley, causing massive congestion on Route 309 to Blackman Street, where the road turns into a single lane in each direction as it becomes Wilkes-Barre Township Boulevard. Traffic was also congested for a short time on Route 29 in Hanover Township leading onto the northbound lanes of the interstate and Main Street in Ashley.
Emergency crews cleared the scene at about 10:30 a.m.