Tractor trailer rolls on wind-swept stretch of I-78 in Berks

Westbound lanes closed for nearly 2 hours

TILDEN TWP., Pa. - A wind-driven storm packed enough punch to push a tractor trailer onto its side on Interstate 78 in Berks County on Friday.

The crash happened shortly before noon on the westbound side of the highway in the area of milepost 27.9, which is west of the Route 61 interchange in Tilden Township.

"Anytime you’re traveling on the roads and you see a big open field, the potential for a lot of wind is there, and that’s what happened with this truck," said Pennsylvania State Police Trooper David Beohm, a spokesman for PSP's Reading-based Troop L.

The overturned truck and its empty trailer blocked both lanes of travel, forcing westbound motorists off the highway at the Lenhartsville exit and onto Old Route 22.

The 39-year-old driver, a man from Newark, New Jersey, was initially reported to be trapped in the truck, but rescue crews on the scene determined that he was able to make it out on his own. He was taken by ambulance to Reading Hospital for treatment of an injury to his left arm, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

WFMZ's Katiera Winfrey, who was on the scene as crews worked to upright the truck, described the winds as being "hellacious."

"We got a lot of wind, a lot of debris flying around," said Rick Stone, PennDOT's Berks County equipment manager. "Take your time. Give yourself some extra time, and give us some space and we’re good to go.”

The westbound lanes of I-78 reopened shortly before 2 p.m.

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