Last night, about 11:30, Jesse Benoit was driving his eighteen-wheeler West on the Highway 82 Bypass when his trailer started to sway. . Benoit tried to correct the rig, but lost control in the large curve near the 18th Avenue exit. The trailer flipped, pulling the truck with it. When it hit the ground, Benoit’s load, a coil of steel weighing several tons, broke loose. The coil left a large crater at the point where it hit the ground. It then bounced over the guard rail and tumbled down the embankment on the north side of the Bypass, leaving huge divots along the way. The coil finally came to rest in a stand of trees at the bottom of the hill, half in the last gouge it made in the earth.
Benoit had just left Tuscaloosa and the coil was destined for a steel warehouse in Memphis.
The following morning Waters Truck and Tractor were on scene to remove the spool of steel from the valley it was in. One lane of Hwy 82 westbound was blocked for several hours before the crane that was necessary to reload the spool arrived to block both lanes. Traffic in Columbus was nearly in gridlock. Hwy 82 from Military to Lee Stokes was practically at a standstill for 3 hrs. From 11am to 2pm city side streets became overly congested with drivers ditching their normal route on 82.0