A Thursday afternoon accident in Rossville caused a large gas leak and closed down McFarland Avenue.
The accident occurred at 3:15 p.m., according to witnesses at the scene.
“Fortunately no one was hurt or maimed in the incident,” said Sid Adams, public safety director for Rossville.
The driver, 60-year-old Herman Mathely from a Lane Equipment Rental Co. in Chattanooga, was able to get out of the damaged truck on his own.
Firefighters arrived within a matter of seconds, due to the close proximity to the Rossville Public Safety building.
According to witness statements, an 18-wheel truck traveling northbound veered gradually into the center lane and then into the southbound lane.
The truck then left the roadway into the Peerless Mill parking lot, knocking down a power pole and then careening into a four-inch gas line that runs along McFarland Avenue.
The high-pitched shrill of the leaking gas could be heard for several blocks away, according to Adams.
The Rossville Police Department quickly closed the road in the immediate vicinity and evacuated the city hall and the library as a precaution if an explosion occurred.
Fortunately a breeze helped dissipate the gas leak and within minutes gas company technicians were on the scene. The crew closed a nearby valve to stop the leak.
A one-block section of the road remained closed for several hours.
Vehicles were detoured around the accident perimeter on Richmond Avenue.
A medical condition is one possibility for the erratic driving, according to Adams.
The driver of the truck was cited with failure to maintain a lane, while the investigation continues to determine what caused the driver to leave the road.