Havelock News
  • Car crash results in broken gas line

  • Havelock police and fire personnel are at the scene of a wreck that has apparently resulted in a cut gas line.
  • A car crash resulted in a gas leak that tied up traffic on U.S. 70 in western Havelock for nearly two hours.
    The crash happened shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday off a service road in front of the Sound of Freedom Shoppes across from Walmart in Havelock.
    The driver of the vehicle, which ended up on its side, managed to get out on her own and did not have life-threatening injuries.
    However, the natural gas from the Piedmont main distribution line hissed as it escaped from the leak. Havelock police and fire personnel raced to evacuate the nearby Sound of Freedom Shoppes. Some students who were awaiting parents to pick them up at Gurganus Elementary School had to be sent by bus to the Walmart parking lot for pickup as the school was evacuated.
    Rescue personnel made the decision to close U.S. 70 to traffic, fearful that any spark could cause an explosion.
    Authorities contacted Norfolk-Southern to make sure any train would be stopped before it neared the area of the leak, also worried about any spark.
    Eastbound traffic on U.S. 70 was rerouted along the service road in front of Walmart, and westbound traffic on the highway was rerouted through the parking lot and behind the store to the exiting service road.
    Meanwhile, traffic began to back up, and gas crews sent to the scene to fix the leak got caught in the traffic and needed police escorts to get to the site of the leak.
    At its peak, eastbound traffic backed up about three miles to Carolina Pines, while westbound traffic also backed up about three miles to the Stonebridge Square intersection.
    A secondary crash caused by onlookers furthered delayed traffic in the area.
    Gas crews initially stopped the leak shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday, but too much pressure built up in the line, so crews allowed the gas to leak out as they continued to make repairs.
    Around 6:30 p.m., sufficient repairs had been made to allow police and rescue crews to open U.S. 70 again, and traffic began to return to normal.
    Piedmont Gas crews were expected to remain on the scene throughout the night as repairs continued.
    Havelock police are investigating the cause of the crash, and the name of the driver was not yet available on Thursday night.
    Because of the massive traffic delays, Havelock High School postponed its scheduled holiday band concert, as several members were stuck in traffic and could not get to the high school. It has been rescheduled for 7 p.m. on Dec. 13.
     6:30 p.m. update
    Traffic is starting to flow again on U.S. 70 after a car crash that resulted in a gas leak in front of the Sound of Freedom Shoppes in western Havelock. The crash happened shortly after 4 p.m., and the resulting gas leak prompted rescue personnel to close U.S. 70 in both directions for about two hours. Traffic was rerouted through the Walmart parking lot area and service road.
    Page 2 of 4 - At its height, eastbound traffic backed up to Carolina Pines, while westbound traffic backed up to the Stonebridge Square shopping center for what was described as a large leak. A loud hissing noise was heard from the leak.
    Gas repair crews were stuck in the resulting traffic jam and needed police escorts to get to the scene.
    The person in the white passenger vehicle that struck a pole that then hit the main Piedmont Gas distribution line managed to get out of the vehicle on her own. She was not believed to be seriously injured.
    The Sound of Freedom Shoppes were evacuated and closed for the rest of the night. Some students who were awaiting parents to pick them up at Gurganus Elementary School had to be sent by bus to the Walmart parking lot for pickup as the school was evacuated.
    Norfolk-Southern was contacted to stop any train that may be nearing the area on the nearby railroad tracks to prevent any possible spark that could cause an explosion.
    As of 6:30 p.m., Piedmont gas crews remained on scene and were making repairs. Authorities reported that the crew would remain on scene most of the night and that traffic had returned to normal.
    The repair crews had initially stopped the leak shortly before 6 p.m., but too much pressure built up in the line. Crews then had to allow the gas to leak out to alleviate pressure.
    5:55 p.m. update
    Havelock police and fire expect U.S. 70 to be closed for at least another hour. Gas crews got the leak stopped, but too much pressure built up in the line. Crews then had to allow the gas to leak out to alleviate pressure. Crews working on reducing flow of gas through the main distribution line to be able to stop the leak. U.S. 70 is closed near the area of the Sound of Freedom Shoppes in western Havelock. Traffic being rerouted through service road in front of Walmart and the Walmart parking lot. All this started when a vehicle crashed, resulting in the ruptured gas line. Authorities are urging residents to avoid the area if they can. Traffic backed up to Stonebridge Square intersection for westbound lanes and to Carolina Pines for eastbound lanes.
    5:45 p.m. update
    A third gas crew from Piedmont Gas has arrived on scene to fix a ruptured line caused by a car crash in front of the Sound of Freedom Shoppes in Havelock. Fire and police are rerouting traffic off U.S. 70 to avoid the leak of the main distribution line. Westbound traffic on U.S. 70 is backed up to the Stonebridge Square intersection, while eastbound traffic is backed up to Carolina Pines. Authorities are urging residents to avoid the area if possible.
    Page 3 of 4 - 5:30 p.m. update
    Westbound traffic on U.S. 70 is now backed up to Stonebridge Square intersection. Gas crews on scene and attempting to stop the leak. One police officer said "Traffic is backed up everywhere." Westbound traffic being detoured through the Walmart parking lot, while eastbound traffic is being routed on the service road in front of Walmart.
    5:15 p.m. update
    Westbound traffic on U.S. 70 is now backed up to Ketner Heights. Main gas crew just arrived on scene at Sound of Freedom Shoppes to repair gas leak.
    5:10 p.m. update
    Eastbound traffic on U.S. 70 is now backed up to Carolina Pines. Westbound traffic on U.S. 70 is backed up to the Quality Inn. Officials still awaiting arrival of second gas crew to fix the leak, which is still going strong. All this caused by a single-vehicle crash in which the car left the road, struck a pole in front of gas distribution line, and the pole than struck the gas line, which caused a rupture. Crash happened shortly after 4 p.m. today in front of the Sound of Freedom Shoppes across the highway from Walmart in Havelock.
    5:05 p.m. update
    An initial assessment has been made of the gas leak in front of Sound of Freedom Shoppes. More crews on the way, but eastbound traffic is backed up to Tucker Creek, and the gas crew is needing a police escort to get through the backed up traffic. Officials have contacted Norfolk-Southern railroad to advise the company not to run any train through the area to prevent any possible spark to the leaking natural gas.
    4:45 p.m. update
    Gas crews have just arrived on scene in front of Sound of Freedom Shoppes. Gas leak was described as large. Driver of car that crashed into the distribution line managed to get out of her wrecked vehicle on her own. Loud hissing noise can be heard in the area. Another crash happened in the area involving two others cars. It apparently was an onlooker crash and not part of the original crash that caused the gas leak. Westbound traffic on U.S. 70 is being diverted behind Walmart, while eastbound traffic is being diverted through the service road in front of Walmart. Traffic is backed up in the area.
    4:32 p.m. update
    Fire and police crews are awaiting gas crews to shut off the gas running to the broken line in front of the Sound of Freedom Shoppes in Havelock. Gurganus Elementary students have now been totally evacuated from the school via school buses to the Walmart parking lot. Parents can pick up their children from the parking lot. Gas continues to spew from the broken line. The passenger vehicle involved in the crash is empty, and there appear to be no serious injuries from the intial crash. Traffic is backing up in the area.
    Page 4 of 4 - 4:25 p.m. update
    Havelock police are closing both eastbound and westbound lanes of U.S. 70 from Catawba Road to the traffic signal at Walmart. Traffic will be diverted along the service road in front of Walmart and Gerber Collision and Glass.
    4:20 p.m. update
    The Sound of Freedom Shoppes have been evacuated. Students remaining at Gurganus Elementary are being evacuated to the Walmart parking lot on school buses. Parents can pick up their students at the Walmart.
    4:15 p.m. update
    Havelock police and fire personnel are at the scene of a wreck that has apparently resulted in a cut gas line.
    The crash happened off the service road in front of the Sound of Freedom Shoppes shortly after 4 p.m.
    Gas is seen spewing from the broken line, and rescue personnel are waiting for the gas to be cut off.
    The car is on its side just off the service road in front of the shopping center.

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