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. sissy

    I don't know where that truck & drivet are from. There is a big problem with uninspected trucks from Mexico and commercial drivers with little training from everywhere. My husband went to college to get his cdl. He is a former submariner with high intellegence. His last ticket was in the 70's. I ride with him now and witness the insane stupidity of many car drivers everyday. He has worked for three companies. On of the repair shops signed off on needed repairs without actually conpleting them. One inspection officet gave him a fix it ticket on something that wasn't broken. That officer gave the exact same ticket to the drivers before and after for a total of 18 so far that day. In other words in officer was giving every "mechanically clean" truck bogus tickets. Every day, some people drive around trucks by cutting to close, and truck drivers have to slam on their breaks to save the idiot's lives. The professional drivers are flipped off for a thank you. People merge onto the freeway with their cell phone on their left ear. They don't look to their left, turn their head and lean to check out their blind spot, or even look in their mirror. They just expect every one to move out of their way. If there are three innocent cars on the left of the semi, the trucker will let the idiot who's entering the freeway dangerously, grind himself up on the truck rims. Unfortunatelt, there are many dangerous drivers on the road. We see preventable wrecks every day. I wonder if their families think their bad driving was worth the wreck.Think about this: don't take a chance cutting off a stranger who is drunk, inexperienced, or not paying attention, exhausted ect. The freeway slowdowns would lesson if people would be courteous.

    November 23, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ashley

      I like how you fail to mention the truck drivers that pay no attention, cut cars off, run cars off the road and drive while talking on their cell phones. My father was almost decapitated by a truck driver who backed across a road, on a dark morning without his lights on – tell me how that was my father's fault.

      November 23, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • jonline

      How can there be a big problem with uninspected trucks from Mexico when it just literally became legal for Mexican trucks to make deliveries in the US. This is rambling nonsense.

      November 23, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • jtsj16

      Went to college to get a CDL? Last time I checked you only had to pass a couple tests. A degree certainly wan't required. Maybe you should stick to making up stories about something else.

      November 23, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Isaiah

      Problem with Mexican truck drivers, is that the best you've got? I highly doubt this guy was a Mexican driving a truck. We just opened up our lanes to Mexican truckers about three weeks ago. I know we all like to blame them for everything else that goes wrong, but really?

      November 23, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • stop the hate

      may be your husband is one of those people you are pointing out, now if you are not even sure where the truck is from along with the driver don't make assuptions, or you would be making an assuption out of your self or you went to college to get that kind of thinking?
      wake up was an accident ..noe the drivers can sue the company and move on, at list we can be thankfull no one got hurt

      November 23, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • RodBInNC

      I see you forgot your meds today, It's ok,,,,,,just breathe.

      November 23, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • JLH980

      Judging by all the spelling errors, her husband isn't the only one who didn't go to college

      November 23, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonny

      So we have one person griping about mexican truck drivers, which sissy didn't say, and another person saying "They just literally made it illegal." Does that all of a sudden mean that there were never any problem. Another person crying about her dad nearly being decapitated, that sucks, but again Sissy's comment was on drivers with little training and ill maintained vehicles, not your dad.

      Basically I see a bunch of people who didn't bother to read what Sissy was saying, and instead attacking her for pointing out an actual issue.

      November 23, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Eddie

    Similar incident hapened here in Virginia 3 years ago – a truck carrying cooking oil sprayed it all over Route 13 for 25 miles, causing several accidents. My car was in the middle of the mess too. Smelled like roast chicken on warm days frm that point on until I traded it in. Chicken plant had t pay to get all the cars cleaned.

    November 23, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. TriXen

    As a claims adjuster, I can say I feel sorry for the schmucks who are going to be handling these claims. There will be a TON of claims already this time of year and this will just "add to the pile."

    November 23, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • David Andrew

      Isn't that what they get paid for?

      November 23, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • JD

      Don't feel sorry... it's further job security!

      November 23, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. tarharhar

    sounds like the fate of the 200 cars is SEALED...

    November 23, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Horatio Caine


      November 23, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phatfreddy1978

      honk honk

      November 23, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |

    Bloop, how many truck drivers do you know with college degrees? just saying, scholl gets you out of mindless jobs, and i dont care to take a test to see how smart i am, my degree says that. sorry you opted not to get an education. sounds like you've rode a gear or two. go back to school!

    November 23, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • M

      I guess English grammer and spelling were not included in your "degree".

      November 23, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben Hutchins

      The irony of this entire exchange is delicious.

      November 23, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spurt

      Grammar* Way to correct someone and make yourself look like an idiot at the same time. Eddy can't dance!

      November 23, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elmer Fudd

      Don't you mean Blond, James Blond?

      November 23, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aimee

      Sorry, but there are millions of highly intelligent people who did not go to college. I know plenty of very unintelligent people who did go as well. College doesn't make you smart, it just means you know more facts and sometimes that isn't even the case. For all we know if took you years of remedial classes to even be able to take regular college courses to get your degree and you could have a degree in basket weaving. Don't put a blanket over all truck drivers just because there are some idiots out there. There are a lot of idiots who drive on the road who don't drive a truck as well.

      November 23, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. TheLittlestKardashian

    Who knows more about needing gallons of black goo wiped up and off...a job for 2 kardashians

    November 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Marty McFly

    Bush's fault. He recapitulated the horizontalness of the smaller fulcrum.

    November 23, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • rstarr

      Bush couldn't do the math.

      November 23, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Str8Vision

      No Marty but I'm pretty sure if you watch the Faux news channel they will show blurry pics of a man with an ice pick hacking at a tanker truck and interview several "experts" witnesses who swear it was Obama........

      November 23, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jena

    ""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,..." There are other roads one can take to get to New Jersey. 🙂

    November 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      yeah.. they should have stuck to 78 😉

      November 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Feetintheclouds

      Not to mention that they were closer to NJ than Cleveland... haha people make no sense... this is what insurance and rentals are for!

      November 23, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • cjinpittsburgh

      Feetintheclouds- where this happened is 3 hrs from Cleveland and 5-6 hrs from NJ. and yes there's plenty of other ways to get to NJ, have GPS will travel. and no the road,turnpike, was NOT closed.

      November 23, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Helena

      Um, I think the point is they can't drive their car anymore. Because of the black goop? Which is the point of the story? They'll need to get their tires and rims replaced.

      November 23, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. calmncool

    Looks like the those poor folks in PA have one more thing to step in.

    November 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dee

    that is just INEXCUSABLE! I would be FURIOUS if my car was there..

    November 23, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      Yes, but your fury and your "inexcusable" rantings won't do anything for your car. Stuff happens. Losers sit down and complain, winners do something to fix it.

      November 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bert Bigdongle

    Too bad it wasn't crack cocaine in its highly liquified form. Then these folks could have had a party on the side of the road instead of crying about it.

    November 23, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Scott S.

    There are too many trucks as it is, and not one of these drivers is safe. They don't pay attention, they drive too fast, and they don't maintain their vehicles. I'm sure that there are many deliveries that are handled by trucks that could be handled by rail. As a matter of fact, you'll see trains that are delivering trucks!

    November 23, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. woody

    The cars are replaceable....what about the environmental impact?

    Any attempt at cleaning that up, or is Pennsylvania too far gone already?

    November 23, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      Seriously? That is what you are worried about? What about the financial impact to the drivers? The fact that the road was closed, preventing trade from happening? And all you care about is the environmental impact. Geesh.....

      November 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. GRofPA

    Brian & Wes – makes no difference – he was still a mooooron – and this whole goo mess is still all his fault. Presently & metaphorically.

    November 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Amazed

    I'm amazed at how GRofPA is a mouth piece for OWS but still tries to insult people by calling them idiots, that does nothing for any cause, not to mention all the effort they are putting in trying to sound intelligent only to fall back on calling people idiots.....

    November 23, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
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