KINGSTON SPRINGS, TN (WSMV) - The driver of a tanker truck involved in a crash on Interstate 40 around mile marker 186 in Cheatham County which shut down all eastbound and westbound lanes for almost an entire day in June, has been released from the hospital.

Officials with Vanderbilt University Medical Center said Ronald Vercher, 60, of Franklin, Louisiana, has been released from their care.

Authorities said the wreck was reported at about 9 a.m. on Friday, June 28. They reopened the interstate early the next morning.

According to TN Highway Patrol, the wreck involved a tractor trailer and SUV. The cause of the collision remains under investigation.

Vercher was wearing his seat belt when the wreck occurred and was injured. 

The SUV driver was identified as Lea Ann Pustejovsky, 64, of Primm Springs, TN. Pustejovsky was wearing her seat belt and was not injured.

Troopers said traffic was diverted at exit 182 and westbound traffic was diverted at exit 188 and exit 196. 

News4 spoke to Cheatham County Sheriff Mike Breedlove, who reported that the crashed truck was carrying a viscous chemical called methyl methacrylate monomer, used in dental work. The substance was leaking from the overturned truck.

The Sheriff tells us the compound was flammable and toxic, and all nearby vehicles were asked to keep their motors turned off. He deemed the accident a "dangerous situation," and at 10:30 a.m. the Sheriff issued an evacuation order for homes within a half-mile radius of the wreck.

In a news conference late Friday morning, investigators said the crash involved the truck and a car. Nobody inside the car was injured.

Multiple agencies responded to the scene. The driver of the truck was flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where his condition is currently unknown. His legs were trapped on the passenger side of the vehicle when it turned over. Investigators had to call additional backup to help remove him from the vehicle, and it took 30 minutes to remove him.

Hazmat personnel were on the scene and tankers of water were brought in to clean up the spill. 

Cheatham County Emergency Management Agency Director Edwin Hogan said the truck was up-righted at approximately 9:41 p.m., over 12 hours after the crash occurred. Crews had built a sand dyke to contain the leaking chemical as the tractor-trailer was up-righted.

Hogan said there was a slow leak occurring when the truck was up-righted. The next step was to offload the chemical product, which emergency officials said would take about an hour to do.

When the offloading was done, the wrecked vehicle was towed and the lanes were subsequently reopened.

The crash investigation is underway, and it is still too early to conclude what caused the crash.


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