Traffic stalled at I-65

Published 4:33 am Thursday, July 5, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Two separate incidents occurred Tuesday evening at the intersection of Highway 21 and Interstate 65 when a Plymouth Voyager caught fire at the BP station on Hwy. 21 and a Contract Freighters, Inc. 18-wheeler ran off the interstate completely blocking the southbound entry ramp onto I-65 until the vehicle could be cleared.
Dwight Williams, the driver of the Voyager, said the vehicle had been running hot but he was still trying to make it to New Orleans to visit family.
"I am originally from New Orleans," Williams said. "But after Katrina I moved to North Carolina. I was on my way to New Orleans to be with family. I was coming this way from Montgomery and my car was running hot. I bought a thermostat and it did good for a while. I kept stopping to put water in it and to let it cool."
Williams realized his vehicle was not going to make it all the way to Louisiana but did not want to leave his van at a rest area.
"I was trying to make it to this station but when I got here it overheated and burnt up," Williams said.
Williams had already gotten out of the vehicle before it caught fire and he was not injured. He was taken to the Atmore Police Department where the American Red Cross would take over, finding him clothes and a place to spend the night until family could come pick him up.
Daemon Knight was the driver of the Contract Freighters, Inc. big rig. He said he got distracted when he saw Williams' van on fire and he ran off the road.
"I broke the guardrail and I was pulled right into the ditch," Knight said.
Knight was not injured during the incident.
Kelley's Ambulance, Poarch Police Department, Atmore Fire &Rescue Department, Atmore Police Department and the Escambia County Sheriff's Department were at both scenes.

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