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Reports came in of the semi driving 'erratically,' and here's the headache it caused

Here's what caused the traffic backup on Interstate 5 near Bellingham

A semi truck carrying vegetables rolled on Interstate 5 north of Bellingham Monday morning, June 18, blocking both northbound lanes. The driver was taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence.
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A semi truck carrying vegetables rolled on Interstate 5 north of Bellingham Monday morning, June 18, blocking both northbound lanes. The driver was taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence.

A semi truck carrying vegetables rolled on its side, blocking both lanes of northbound Interstate 5 near Slater Road early Monday morning, causing a backup over approximately four miles. The incident took nearly seven hours to clean up.

The driver of the truck, 29-year-old Kawaltasbir Singh of San Mateo, Calif., was taken from the scene with non-life threatening injuries, according to Washington State Patrol Trooper Heather Axtman, and was taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The incident involving the truck and 53-foot trailer occurred at about 6:40 a.m.

"Just prior to the crash, we received reports of the semi being driven erratically," Axtman said. "It was driving on the shoulder, crossing lines and nearly hit a few cars. Eventually it ended up on its side."

Both lanes remained fully blocked and the truck remained on its side until approximately 2:45 p.m., when WSDOT North Traffic tweeted that the freeway was fully open again.

While the incident was cleaned up, the State Patrol set up a detour for northbound traffic onto the off and on ramps at Slater to avoid the overturned truck, Axtman said, but Washington State Department of Transportation cameras showed traffic backed up beyond the Bellingham Airport to near West Bakerview Road.

"I'm not real familiar with the back roads up there, but if you are and you can avoid I-5 near the Slater exit, it would be much appreciated to relieve some of the traffic there," Axtman said.

The WSDOT North Traffic Twitter account suggested travelers planning to head north should either delay their trips or use State Route 539 (Guide Meridian) to avoid the area.

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