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Truck Carrying Military Rockets Crashes In Louisiana

January 1, 1994

MONROE, La. (AP) _ A flatbed truck carrying a dozen U.S. Army surface-to-air Hawk missiles crashed Thursday after swerving across an interstate highway, forcing the evacuation of about 1,000 people, police said.

An unknown amount of diesel fuel spilled from the truck after the crash, and firefighters covered it with dirt and sand to prevent a fire, Police Chief Joe Stewart said.

The driver and another person in the truck, apparently a backup driver, were injured, Stewart said. They were listed in stable condition at a hospital.

Stewart said fire or compression were the only two things that could cause the rockets to explode. Despite the crash, which left the truck on its side, the cargo seemed relatively undamaged, he said.

An ″initial examination shows that all straps seem secure,″ Stewart said.

Stewart said the westbound truck ″crossed the median, crossed the eastbound lanes, jumped a 30-foot concrete canal, went through a chain link fence and came to rest under the carport of a house.″

The cause of the accident was not known immediately. Weather in the area was fine at the time.

The shipment, with a driver and a backup driver, originated in Concord, Calif., and was en route to the Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, Texas, Stewart said. The truck was owned by a private company contracted by the Army, he said.

Authorities closed a three-mile stretch of I-20 in both directions near Monroe, about 280 miles northwest of New Orleans.

Bomb experts from Barksdale Air Force Base near Shreveport were summoned to check the shipment for damage and load the rockets onto another flatbed truck they were bringing with them, Stewart said.

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