When I first heard that a truck had dumped 40,000 pounds of sausage on Wisconsin highway, my first thought was, "Mmmmm, sausage." My second thought was, "That has to be the weirdest truck spill ever." But it's not. With help from friends at Truckspills.com, we found some truck spills you would definitely rather read about than encounter.
If any town might prepare for a sticky truck spill, you'd expect it to be Sugar Land, Texas. That's where, in 2008, motorists came face to face with a monstrous wave of . . . molasses. 5,000 gallons spilled when the truck carrying it jack-knifed and rolled over. The cleanup took eight hours and 8 trillion handy wipes.
2. A Whale
(Warning: Disgusting photo ahead!)
The Taiwanese city of Tainan looked like the set of a slasher movie after a 56-foot sperm whale exploded on its way through town. At the time, the whale was dead, having beached itself earlier, and was being carted via flatbed truck to a research facility for autopsy. As the whale lay rotting in the sun, gases began to build up inside its carcass until they detonated in a flood of whale guts.
Last year, when a driver lost control of his rig on a Colorado interstate ramp, the capsized trailer was shorn open like a beer can . . . full of beer cans. That's right: this particular truck was carrying twelve-packs of smooth-drinking Keystone Light. Keystone markets itself as "Always Smooth, Even When You're Not"--like, say, when you take a ramp too fast and crash your tractor-trailer. Fortunately, the "uninjured" beer was recovered and loaded on another truck, leaving me to imagine that a poor beer-lover somewhere bought himself a very foamy twelve-pack.
As tough as the economy is, maybe people should start combing the highways for loose change. In 2004, a wrecked armored truck spilled $2 million in coins on the New Jersey Turnpike. In 2005, an armored truck caught fire and splashed $800,000 in scalding quarters on an Alabama road. And just last year, a truck carrying 3.5 million nickels (worth about $185,000) to the Miami Federal Reserve dumped its load after a violent wreck that killed the driver.
5. A ship engine
What do you do when a 200-ton marine engine destined for a San Diego shipyard flips off its flatbed? Get a crane. Actually, get three cranes--and a new road. The massive engine pancaked cars and even shoved one below the pavement. True to Murphy's law, the truck driver involved went to the wrong address, realized his mistake, backed up, hit a curb, and—kaboom! For a cool description of how engineers put the engine back on a truck, check out the original article on the crash.
In 2005, a truck carrying 35,000 pounds of explosives rolled over on a Utah highway and (in classic "A-Team" fashion) blew up moments after the driver and passenger escaped. The blast dug a crater 30 feet deep and 70 feet across. It also propelled concrete road barriers hundreds of feet in the air and twisted nearby railroad tracks like straws. Fortunately, no one died.