Tanker plows through I-485 cable barrier, crashes into woods

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Emergency crews expect to be busy all day as they clean up after a loaded tanker truck crashed into the woods off Interstate 485 in west Charlotte early Friday morning.

The wreck happened around 7 a.m. on the inner loop, near West Boulevard.

Troopers said the driver was traveling on the outer loop when he swerved to avoid a car and drove through the median, crashed through the cable safety barriers and crossed the inner loop lanes before coming to a rest about 25 yards into the woods.

Amazingly, nobody was hurt.

There was a small leak from the tanker and crews were unloading fuel all morning.

Onlooker delays were backing up traffic, but all lanes remain open as crews work to pull the tanker from the woods.

The crash is very similar to a wreck that killed a father of two on I-485 during rush hour Thursday morning.

[READ MORE: Troopers identify driver killed in crash that shut down I-485 for hours]

Troopers said Richard Vermillion's car drove through the cable barrier in the median near Harrisburg Road and hit three cars heading the other direction.

Channel 9 asked troopers how the barriers, which are supposed to prevent wrong-way crashes, failed.

[PHOTOS: Deadly crash closes I-485 outer loop for hours]

"If the angle and speed are right, yes, your vehicle can come through these cable barriers,” said Trooper Ray Pierce.

When asked if the cable barriers need to be replaced with concrete barriers, Pierce said, “It's more of a catch-22. Anytime you've got a vehicle in motion, if that vehicle is running 65 to 70, hits a concrete wall and makes a dead stop, unfortunately, your body can't survive that either."

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has studied the safety of concrete barriers versus cable barriers. From 2011 to 2013, it found 18 percent of crashes involving cable barriers had serious injuries, compared to 41 percent with concrete barriers.

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