Sept. 22, 2004 Dinner-hour traffic through the heart of Cruz Bay came to a sudden stop Tuesday night when a 40-foot container slipped off its chassis landing in the middle of a major intersection near a gas station.
It took police, firefighters, volunteers from St. John Rescue and a local trucking company close to three hours to transfer tons of building supplies from the fallen flat-rack container that cut off most of Centerline Road from the short road that rises uphill from the Cruz Bay bulkhead where barges load and unload vehicles.
Part of the container landed in the paved portion of O'Connor's Texaco Gas Station, raining building materials onto a Suzuki Sidekick that was gassing up at one of the pumps. "I was getting gas at the gas station and the truck came around the corner and I guess the stuff wasn't secured and it fell off onto my car," motorist Alanna Liburd said. "The lady that was on the other side, pumping my gas said, 'Run! Run!'"
"I ran out the door on the other side with no shoes on. They had to lift the stuff off my car," Liburd said.
Gas station attendant Abbigail Hendricks said she was on the scene when the incident occurred. "It just fell off. It made a loud noise."
Hendricks, whose relatives own the gas station, said she had never heard about an accident like the one that happened Tuesday night happening anywhere near the Texaco station, which juts out into an intersection that connects roads from Cruz Bay Creek, Enighed Pond, the main town road, Route 10, Centerline Road and Route 104, Gifft Hill Road.
The accident occurred around 6:45 pm, as the Ford tractor trailer hauled a load of cement, plywood and foam insulation up the hill from the bulkhead and turned left at the intersection in order to position itself to back down past the triangular gas station property and complete a "Y"-shaped turn onto the road leading to the Westin Resort. It's a maneuver commonly done by large trucks accessing Route 104 from Cruz Bay.
"I was putting my head up the hill to back down, to go to the Westin," James Jones, the truck driver, said as he stood near a backhoe loading up stacks of fallen plywood. The separated trailer, bearing a sticker marked Tropical Shipping, was parked a few feet away in the lot in front of the Dolphin Market. Small clusters of onlookers milled around the gas station and the top of the market stairs.
Jones said the accident may have been caused by a problem with the coupling that held the flat rack to the truck chassis.
Police said there were no reported injuries in the Tuesday night incident.
Emergency personnel directed traffic around the accident site until volunteers and heavy equipment operators cleared the roadway.
Officials at the Public Works Department on St. John have over the past few years proposed moving the gas station. Instead Ira Wade Public Works deputy commissioner has suggested creating a traffic circle that he says would create a better flow for passing cars and trucks.
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