Norton accident hospitalizes two

NORTON A tractor-trailer carrying appliances veered off of Interstate 495 North Saturday evening, tipped over and skidded along an embankment just north of Exit 10, sending two people to the hospital, and causing significant traffic delays.

The 42-year-old driver of the truck and a 29-year-old passenger, both men from Providence, were taken to Rhode Island Hospital in Providence with minor injuries, according to the Norton Fire Department.

The driver of the truck, whose identity was not released, told firefighters he fell asleep and allowed the vehicle to drift off the highway onto a grass slope just before the start of a guardrail, Norton Fire Capt. Benton Keene said.

When the driver tried to steer back toward the roadway, the truck flipped over, the driver told firefighters.

Both the driver and passenger were helped from the truck by passing motorists, and were lying by the side of the road conscious and alert when firefighters arrived, around 6:45 p.m., Keene said. He said both men had been wearing seatbelts. After the two men were taken to the hospital, all lanes of I-495 North were closed to traffic for around 15 minutes while a 12-man towing crew removed the damaged truck from the side of the highway.

The cleanup involved cutting away a section of the highway guardrail and by 9:30 p.m., one lane of the highway was still closed as crews finished up the work.

The 26-foot truck was carrying Sears-brand refrigerators, washing machines, treadmills and other appliances, Keene said.

The accident is being investigated by Massachusetts State Police, who responded to the scene from the Foxboro barracks.