One year ago: Tanker traffic drama ends with controlled blast (Video)

Advocate file photo by ARTHUR D. LAUCK -- Baton Rouge firefighters and State Police Haz-Mat get a look at the tanker truck leaking isobutane vapor involved in an early morning crash Agu. 22, 2012, on Interstate 10 at Essen Lane causing the closure of both east and west bound lanes.
Advocate file photo by ARTHUR D. LAUCK -- Baton Rouge firefighters and State Police Haz-Mat get a look at the tanker truck leaking isobutane vapor involved in an early morning crash Agu. 22, 2012, on Interstate 10 at Essen Lane causing the closure of both east and west bound lanes.

A year ago today, a tanker truck containing 8,700 gallons of highly flammable isobutane wrecked on Interstate 10, began leaking vapor and demonstrated just how bad traffic can get in the capital city.

In what some called “carmageddon,” I-10 was shut down before morning rush hour in both directions, sending about 100,000 vehicles onto Baton Rouge’s already full surface streets, bringing the city to a halt for 27 hours.

The accident occurred at 3:40 a.m. Aug. 22, 2012, between Essen and Bluebonnet Boulevard, and the interstate didn’t reopen until 6:45 a.m. the next morning.

The driver of a car in front of the tanker lost control and hit a retaining wall before overturning on I-10 east, forcing the tanker to come to a quick stop, police spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said. An 18-wheeler behind the tanker crashed into the tanker, destorying the tanker’s valve system and causing a vapor leak, McKneely said.

Authorities eventually blew two holes in a tanker truck just before midnight Wednesday, igniting a huge fireball as they prepared to move the damaged rig from the accident scene. Authorities evacuated residents within 500 yards of the accident prior to the controlled “vent and burn.” .