BELMONT, NC (WBTV) - The driver of a tractor trailer has been pulled from his overturned truck nearly four hours after it went down an embankment on the side of Interstate 85 near the Mecklenburg County-Gaston County line.
The driver was pulled from the crashed truck along I-85 northbound between mile markers 26 and 27 around 5:10 p.m.
The truck crashed around 1:30 p.m. and overturned down the embankment, shutting down the road until around 4 a.m. Friday. The road was initially expected to be shut down until around 7 p.m.
MOBILE USERS: Click here to see photos of the crash
A medical helicopter was called to the scene and landed on the interstate, but the driver's condition has not been released.
"They're trying to make a living and feed their family. It's heartbreaking when something like this happens," said fellow commercial truck driver Jeffrey Self.
Officials said several agencies aided in rescuing the driver while traffic remained backed up on the interstate.
"We don't concern with the traffic when a life is involved. Our efforts are towards getting the patient free," said Captain Jarad McCarn with the Belmont Fire Department.
Drivers were being urged by NCDOT to avoid Interstate 85 North in Gaston County, if possible. At one point, the back-up was estimated at more than 12 miles.
Traffic was being detoured off the highway at Exit 26 (Belmont-Mount Holly Road). Vehicles are being directed to turn left at the top of the ramp, then right at the intersection with Main Street. At the next light, vehicles should turn left onto U.S. 29 North/U.S. 74 East (Wilkinson Boulevard). Follow that to I-485 Inner Loop, which will get motorists back to I-85 North at Exit 30.