HAYS — The remnants of a freak mishap Monday on Interstate Highway 70 at Hays startled truck driver Charles Schneider as he passed by the wreck Tuesday morning. The crash happened when the boom on a backhoe that was on a trailer being pulled by a tractor-trailer ripped into a bridge spanning the interstate, and then it stuck there. The backhoe, which runs on tracks, was still stuck in the bridge Tuesday afternoon, while a state bridge crew assessed the damage. “We’re setting up some shoring (supports) right now,” Zimmer said at mid afternoon. “As soon as that’s in place, we’ll start removing the boom.” The truck driver, Michael M. Conley, 53, Holcomb, had driven onto the interstate a mile west of the bridge, Zimmer said. The backhoe’s boom was all the way down, but it still was too high for the bridge, which carries Hall Street traffic. The bridge is 16 feet above I-70. When the bridge was struck at 5:53 p.m. Monday, the boom extended and ripped through the concrete bridge deck, Zimmer said. Debris was strewn about and damaged a sport utility vehicle that was behind the semi, but there were no injuries. The truck didn’t have the necessary permits to be on the interstate, Kansas Highway Patrol spokesman Allan Lytton said. “He was supposed to take other two-lane roads,” Lytton said. Whether Conley is ticketed for the crash will be determined after the patrol completes an investigation, he said. Crash diverts I-70 traffic at Hays, KS 14 FEB 2006
Law enforcement officers with the Kansas Highway Patrol work the scene of an accident Monday evening that has closed a 2-mile stretch of Interstate 70 just west of Hays. A tractor-trailer, hauling a track hoe excavator, hit a bridge going over I-70, causing the boom of the excavator to crash through the bridge deck. Nobody was injured in the accident. (Photo by Steven Hausler)
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