A tanker truck that burst into flames and exploded Tuesday afternoon in New Orleans East did so after it fell on its side while trying to avoid hitting a car that cut it off, the truck’s driver told authorities.
Even so, Jasmine Henderson, 24, was cited for failure to maintain control of her vehicle, New Orleans police said Wednesday.
Capt. Ed Holmes Jr., a New Orleans Fire Department spokesman, said Henderson told first responders she was trying to merge onto eastbound Interstate 10 from Interstate 510 when a car cut her off, forcing her to swerve to avoid hitting it.
At that point the tanker fell over and skidded across the highway. It came to a rest when it hit a concrete wall dividing the eastbound and westbound lanes and almost immediately exploded, Holmes said.
Authorities classified the incident as a single-vehicle accident and have not issued any other citations.
Henderson is a driver for Dupre Logistics, said Officer Garry Flot, a Police Department spokesman.
She was treated Tuesday night at New Orleans East Hospital for minor injuries to her face, left arm and right knee, Holmes said.
The tanker was carrying about 8,600 gallons of gasoline when it erupted about 4:30 p.m. A plume of dark black smoke could be seen for miles, and the fire forced the closure of all lanes of I-10 near I-510, creating gridlock in both directions during rush hour.
Westbound lanes were reopened shortly after the fire was placed under control about 6 p.m. The eastbound side was reopened a little after 1 a.m. Wednesday.
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