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. jtt

    Probably full of PAHs and is carcinogenic too.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Darren Catmandew

    Without us brainless truckdrivers you dont have the food or the road to drive on! It would be hard to tell if you were leaking in the weather theyve had out in PA!

    November 23, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spendlove

      And without you brainless truckers we wouldn't have the majority of traffic that we do in the United States. Thanks for nothing... go green, buy local and Obama 2012.

      November 23, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • outawork

      What that goo did to the cars Obama has done to the USA.

      November 23, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Synapse

      It was all good- until Trucking was de-regulated.
      RE-regulate ALL industries that were de-regged. They were all regulated for a reason [protecting citizens & safety] in the 1st place.

      November 23, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will

      "outawork" - Maybe you wouldn't be "outta work" if you could write coherently. Just a thought.

      November 23, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • T3chsupport

      Without the lobbying from you brainless truckers, maybe we'd be able to rely more on rail instead of your disgusting gas hogs carting crap from coast to coast.

      Also, I don't think this stuff is edible, so you can pretty much stuff it.

      November 23, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob P

      Why did they stop?..If they all would have kept driving, the stuff would have wore off the tires.

      November 23, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charlie

      Yes, you truckers need to stop delivering food to NYC, let them buy local...... Let me know how that works out ROFLMAO!!!!! Stupid Liberals.

      November 23, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Rioux

      @Spendlove: Don't blame the truckers. They're just trying to feed their families with a paying job, a job that is really difficult to do.

      The real problem is that the country has not invested in the infrastructure to replace cross-country trucking. Our long-distance hauling should be done by rail, not truck. Trucks should be limited to local deliveries (rail station to store).

      Blaming that infrastructural problem on the truckers who work so hard is like blaming soldiers for the decisions of the Commander in Chief.

      November 23, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. UrMom

    My god you people are dumb and b!tchy. Get the h3ll off my planet, and happy thanksgiving.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Thomas_Jefferson

    Those cars are all totaled... RUINED. The undercarriage, suspension, drive-shaft, wheels, tires, brakes, all have to be replaced, plus the car exteriors will have to be carefully cleaned. Then there is the SMELL that will permeate the vehicle for the rest of it's life. Have you ever tried to get a tiny piece of tar the size of a pinhead off a car, without damage? ... This situation is beyond comprehension.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will

      It's sealant, not tar.

      November 23, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johnny D

      Yeah it's worse than tar, those cars are totaled. I would be devastated if that happened to my car, I hope all those people get new vehicles.

      November 23, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bugs

      Unlax, it's just free undercoating.

      November 23, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aimee

      You'd think you would notice something like that all over the road...I had to be a massive spill to cause that much damage. Most roads are gray...not black unless they have been recently paved

      November 23, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Rioux

      Boo hoo. People are getting hacked to pieces in Africa and beheaded in Indonesia. Poor babies' cars are ruined!!

      November 23, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      So the state has Insurance! Enjoy you new car courtsy of PA and the Carrier, certinally the trucking Co will be on the hook for a good portion!

      November 23, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Anne

    This is so sad. Not just for the drivers that won't be able to make holiday plans, but for the crazy cost of the repairs as well. Road hazard may cover the replacement of some peoples' tires but for those who got it in the rims and gummed up in the undercarriage, I worry that it might be a lot worse, especially for those who only had liability insurance. While I doubt the trucker could be blamed (and I certainly hope that nothing happens to his job or license) one has to wonder if the trucking company is going to get a class action suit filed against them for faulty equipment and damages.

    November 23, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. outawork

    Some trucking company is going to be shelling out big $$$$$$.

    November 23, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • CTYank

      Or its insurer will not renew coverage.

      November 23, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      No choice they gotta pay! as far as the Trucking Co being outta business time will tell!! Not like America will notice one more Company outta business!

      November 23, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ipmutt

    Where is the coverage regarding Jimmy Fallon and Michele Bachman. If a democrat was attacked like this there would be women going crazy. But if a republican woman is attacked or a democrat man attqacks a women everything is ignored and womend in particular do not respond. Says a lot about the democrats and mainstream media,

    November 23, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • bryan

      They already covered the Bachman/Fallon thing earlier today. Why are you on this article complaining about it?

      November 23, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Johnny D

    Yeah all those cars are totaled going to be EXPENSIVE. What a disaster that would ruin my entire year if that happened to my car which I have put so much work into. Even if they covered the monetary value of it all the time spent would be lost.

    November 23, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sissy

    My husband earned his cld by college classroom instruction and had on the road training by instructors from the same college. He studied at Rogue River Community College in Oregon. His driving skills have saved the lives of many people. I've seen him drive around cars that cut him off. One was a policeman who came out from a piece of construction equipment across the freeway to visit his friend. He didn't even look until he was right in front of us. Another example is a family suddenly pulling out in front of us because the exit was full at Magic Mountain. If my husband was speeding or inattentive, I'm certain they would have been crushed. Some truck drivers don't go to school. They study on their own or learn from family or friends. My husband elected to obtain extensive college level training. There are dangerous truck drivers, too. Some of them have endangered us.My husband has helped at accidents and changed flat tires for little elderly ladies. He is a good man. Thanks to safe drivers everywhere. We appreciate you.

    November 23, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • mervyn

      Thank you.

      November 23, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • banana bread

      sure. help out the LITTLE old ladies. What about me? You ignore me just because I'm a bigger old lady or is it because I'm black?

      November 23, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mervyn

    Honey, wha'st all that black stuff in the road? Oh, I dont know, I'll just keep driving through it and hope it's nothing. Brilliant !!

    November 23, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aimee


      November 23, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sir Lolz

      Brilliant 😀

      November 23, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      It's the new infrasturcture you asked for, they just didn't want to pony-up the funds for road workers to spread it out or signs to tell you the lane was closed! Welcome to the new economy!! lol

      November 23, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. horsesmouth

    How many times do I have to tell you guys to KEEP YOUR PANTS ON! See what you did

    November 23, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mudbug

    Let's see here. A van leaks hydrochloric acid on the interstate west of Indy but it doesn't make CNN even thought it backed up traffic fo several hours. Doesn't hardly qualify as a truck now does it?

    November 23, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ilovefarts

    In other news, goo makes a mess of my boxers.

    November 23, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. siegfriedphil

    "The black GOOD affected hundreds of cars on the Pennsylvania Turnpike". I'm not sure if this is a "good" thing, or if there is anything to feel "good" about.

    November 23, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. regis12

    Considering the hours spent behind the wheel by any truck driver or blue collar worker these type of incidents are insignificant compared to what they do to make this country work. One spill that makes headline news is worthless fodder compared to the hard work these men and women do.

    November 23, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Rioux

      Amen. The media just loves to inflame the situation by getting people angry about one incident.

      November 23, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
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