Black goo disables hundreds of vehicles on Pennsylvania Turnpike
The black good affected hundreds of cars on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
November 23rd, 2011
10:10 AM ET

Black goo disables hundreds of vehicles on Pennsylvania Turnpike

If you hear about a sticky Thanksgiving travel mess, images of crowded airport security lines and jammed freeway interchanges probably come to mind. Your car sitting on the freeway in a mass of a black goo probably isn't what you think of.

But that's exactly what drivers on the Pennsylvania Turnpike faced Tuesday night after a tanker truck carrying driveway sealant sprang a leak and spread the goo over a 37-mile stretch of highway.

"This is Thanksgiving. Now we have to turn around and go back home," Laura Frick, who was traveling from Cleveland to New Jersey for the holiday, told CNN affiliate WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh. "It's horrible."

The tar-like sealant was spilled in the turnpikes eastbound lanes between the New Castle and Allegheny Valley exits in western Pennsylvania, according to the turnpike's website. The truck's driver noticed the leak when he stopped at the Oakmont travel plaza, according to the WTAE report.

About 200 vehicles were damaged by the sealant, some to the point that they could no longer move, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Some drivers said the numbers were even higher.

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"Our car is disabled, along with about 300 others," Ken Miller, of Dearborn Heights, Michigan, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "Our (sport utility vehicle) is wobbling like I'm driving on four flat tires."

"We got on the turnpike and we noticed all these cars pulled over and our car was driving rough, and it was like it was going in to a flat," Lynn Snitzer told WTAE.

"I began hearing something rough hitting under me. I pulled off to the side of the road with about 20 other cars. Everybody thought they had flat tires. Then I reached under my wheel well and saw black stuff all over my hand. It was literally running down the sidewall and puddling on the ground," driver Tom Jungling of Hampton, Pennsylvania, told the Tribune-Review.
Repairs will likely be costly, tow truck driver Tony Armenti told WTAE.

"That tire's gonna have to be replaced. The rim's gonna have to be replaced, and the rest is gonna have to be taken off," he said looking at one vehicle.

The mess was a headache for highway crews, too.

"Initially, they were literally trying to plow this material off the roadway, and they did that to a point, but most recently they've moved to just putting down sand," WTAE quoted turnpike spokesman Bill Capone as saying.

Capone said affected motorists could contact the turnpike commission for help with insurance claims, according to the media reports.

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Filed under: Holidays • Pennsylvania • Thanksgiving • Travel
soundoff (265 Responses)
  1. george lewis

    youre all wrong. The truck is from mexico and the trucker does not speak english. NAFTA...anyone

    November 23, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • owlvan

      It was probably some Irish travler heading north to make a few bucks on some driveway resurfacing scams.

      November 23, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. GRofPA

    Thanks republicans for rolling back all those "job killing" safety regulations. Who cares if a few working class grunts get their cars ruined, or get killed in accidents, as long as we can maintain our profits (oops, i mean "jobs")

    November 23, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Ca Ed

      You want job killing jobs and safety regulations?

      Wait until the Mexican truck drivers start hitting a highway (and family) near you.

      This great idea was both Demo and Rep, Senate, House and President; They should all be turned out of office for the good of the country (but they won't thanks to homers like you).

      November 23, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • GRofPA

      Ed you should do a little studying before you start hurling lame attempts at insult. History shows that regulation do not "kill jobs". This is a smoke and mirrors rhetoric designed by the wealthy elite to mislead and distract simple minded folks like you. Regulations save lives and in many cases increase employment – check the facts. (you do know what a "fact" is don't you?)

      November 23, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      What are yall smokin', and can i have some?

      November 23, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. William F

    How did it take 37 miles to notice the leak? Did he never check his mirrors? No other drivers contacted him over CB??

    November 23, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      I asked the same question. I guess with cell phone,XM radio & a GPS the driver assumed a CB was a waste of time. Drove for nearly 20 now & my CB is on all the time.Sure hate to see what kinda bill that trucking co. will get; all the vehicles damaged, Pa.DOT, & environmental damages. Ya' ll have a safe & Happy Thanksgiving !! GOD BLESS AMERCIA !!

      November 23, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  4. GRofPA

    The driver is just a working class grunt – just like most of us. The fault most likely lies with the 1%er who owns the trucking company and saved a buck by not maintaining his trucks regardless of the risk to public safety. Also with the lawmakers who roll back "job killing" regulations requiring those inspections. This is what OWS is all about – get your heads out of the sand and support those who are trying to make a difference, rather than posting meaningless drivel about goo.

    November 23, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      WRONG ANSWER ! That driver is to insure the security of the cargo ! If the trailer wasn't safe to transport the load they should have never loaded it much less moved it.

      November 23, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • GRofPA

      You're right Dan, he should have just quit his low wage job to protest the unsafe conditions of the truck his employer forced him to drive. Who needs to buy food for thanksgiving anyway, right? Idiot!

      November 23, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      @GRofPA, I understand that you are passionate about OWS, but your grouping of all the 1%ers in with Wall Street and Big Business execs is just foolish. The majority of this evil 1% you keep balthering on about is actually comprised of small business owners. You know, the guys who work their tails off to provide employment to the majority of Americans. These 1%ers aren't the ones taking ridiculous bonuses when their companies are losing money, because when their companies are losing money they are losing money. I personally have no issue with the majority of 1%ers since they are out there working and taking all the financial risks. Wall Street and Big Business are both full of corrupt leaders that need to be cleared out, but your blaming all these problems on the 1% without taking into account who most of these people really is disengenuous. Attack Wall Street all you want, but please leave the hard working small business owners out of your rants.

      November 23, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      the ending of the second to last sentence should read "who most of these people really are, is disengenuous."

      November 23, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. J-man

    I woud send the bill to my congressman. The make millions and they usually will assist.

    November 23, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  6. icu

    Nice general analogy D. Williams. Generalization of an occupation is not the brainiest. So go file a lawsuit so you people who are sue happy can pay even more for gas and groceries. Sh-t happens! Get over it!!

    November 23, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. Eric

    "'Now we have to turn around and go back home,' Laura Frick, who was traveling from Cleveland to New Jersey for the holiday." Umm, there is more than one way to drive from Cleveland to New Jersey. If you can drive home, you should buy a map.

    November 23, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. Nubadopofloposhopolopolis

    Why it gotta be black all da time??

    November 23, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  9. huh

    ELRUSHBO: What the heck are you talking about? I wasn't aware that all of PA had been bashingTexas for its.... drought and wildfires... seems like a totally sane thing to bash an entire state about.... :roll eyes:

    November 23, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. GRofPA

    This is all George Bush's fault.

    November 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pliny

      I blame George H Bush for George W Bush.

      November 23, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • us1776

      Well Duh ! Of course it was Bush or one of his oil business friends.

      Where'd you think all that oily stuff came from?


      November 23, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Really ya'll? Really?

    This is nothing short of Thanksgiving terrorism, plain and simple.

    November 23, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tsimbi

    GRofPA- You're hilarious!

    November 23, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. us1776

    While state police fielded calls from hundreds of motorists, they did not receive any reports of wrecks. Nice of them to monitor the phones.

    STATE POLICE: Did you ever think of setting up a roadblock and stopping this guy?

    I mean 37 MILES you let this guy pour this goo onto the turnpike !!


    November 23, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pliny

      Have you ever driven on the PA Turnpike?

      You can travel 37 miles in 25 minutes.

      November 23, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • us1776

      Pliny, are you kidding me?

      I go 5 miles over the limit and the State Police are all over me like flies.

      But have some guy pouring tons of goo onto the turnpike and they sit back in their barracks answering the phones.


      November 23, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moli

      I have to agree its easy to drive 37 miles in the PA Turnpike and not notice anything. I'm NOT making an excuse for the driver

      November 23, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      37 miles at 55 Mph = about 40 minutes of drive time. How long did it take for the people on the cell phone to call in, then how long would it take to get a roadblock to the right place?

      November 23, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • calmncool

      Can't remember the last time I saw a big rig driving at 55.

      November 23, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Pliny

    I saw Wiley E. Coyote do this to trap the Road Runner.


    On a different's nice to see that the concepts of '1% and 99%' have made it into the common lingo. Thank you OWS, for giving us new words to describe how our country is being sold (by republicans) to the rich and powerful!!!!

    November 23, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • GRofPA

      Two excellent comments! Not sure whick I like better. The refreshing thing is they are both completely true – in stark contract to anything I heard in last night's republican debates.

      November 23, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darth Cheney

      The trucker and his employer must be smarter than Coyote, because this time it worked. Hmm, come to think of it, this may mean less turkey consumed – perhaps the Road Runner was behind it!!!

      November 23, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. KenTarr

    Re: Turnpike Commission. Good luck with that. I got fresh line paint on my car from a contractor moving and marking a lane for an upcoming holiday. The commision rejected my claim.

    November 23, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
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