North River Bridge, recent truck spills, pig spill
Florida Department of Transportation

Millions of Nickels Dumped on Florida Freeway

September 17, 2008 12:22 PM
by Anne Szustek
$182,000 in nickels en route from the Philadelphia Mint to Miami spilled across a swath of Interstate 95 near Mims, Fla., Wednesday morning in a crash that killed one guard.

Crash Involving Truck Carrying Coins Turns Fatal

About 4 tons, or about 3.5 million, nickels were scattered across I-95 when a semi-trailer transporting the coins collided with another semi around 5:22 a.m. EDT Wednesday morning.

According to Fla. state troopers who spoke with the Orlando Sentinel, both vehicles were headed southbound when the truck not carrying the currency veered off the west side of the highway, pushing the semi coming from the Philadelphia Mint over onto its right side.

Two guards were on board overseeing the coins. One died in the crash. Initial news reports conflicted as to where the second driver was taken for treatment. The Associated Press writes that he is being checked out at Holmes Regional Medical Center; while the Orlando Sentinel writes that he was transported to Parrish Medical Center, located in Brevard County. The driver of the other truck was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center.

Officials from the FBI, the U.S. Treasury Department and the Secret Service are overseeing the clean-up of the spilled nickels. That portion of I-95 will remain closed until all of the currency has been collected from the roadway.

This is not the first time this year that Florida has seen a section of I-95 shut down on the account of spilled cargo. On April 24, a semi-trailer overturned and spilled Jell-O snacks over I-95 in St. John’s County, Fla. The interstate was shut down as authorities cleaned up the “slippery mess,” and the driver was airlifted for injuries.

Related Topics: Other recent truck spills

The Des Moines, Houston and Chicago areas have seen a decidedly more lighthearted side of truck spills.

A truck that swerved around a construction zone on Interstate 35 just south of Des Moines dumped 156 pigs on the freeway early Friday morning. “By the time we got there, the hogs were pretty well rounded up and in place,” local resident Bill McKibben told the Des Moines Register. “Most of the hogs were happy to be lying down on the damp bridge.”

During afternoon rush hour on July 17, a truck spilled 5,000 gallons of molasses on Texas Highway 6 near Sugar Land, Texas, shutting down a section of the road until midnight. Pat Pollicoff, a spokesperson for the city of Sugar Land, told the Houston Chronicle that there was “no environmental problem, just healthy, all natural molasses.”

A trailer transporting 14 tons of Oreo Double Stuf brand cookies tipped over I-80 near Morris, Ill. in May, flinging the cookies in their cellophane wrappers over the roadway and median. Kris Habermehl, traffic reporter for Chicago CBS affiliate WBBM, said when checking out the site from his helicopter, “You don’t want to lose your cookies this early in the morning—wait, that didn’t sound right.”

In separate incidents, two trailers full of bees, one in New Brunswick, Canada, and the other near Sacramento, Calif., tipped over earlier this year. In the New Brunswick spill, a truck jackknifed on the Trans-Canada Highway the morning of June 30, releasing 12 million honeybees.

The Sacramento accident occurred on March 16. Bee populations are falling steeply, making the insects a pricy commodity—especially in central California, where they are vital in pollinating almond orchards.



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