A truck carrying a 131-foot-long wind blade from Aberdeen collided with two other semi trucks at the intersection of U.S. highways 281 and 212 north of Redfield about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to the South Dakota Highway Patrol.
The truck with the wind blade, driven by Kinney Acrey, 60, was heading south on U.S. Highway 281 when one of its rear axles came unlocked, said state trooper Brian Korbel. That caused the trailer carrying the blade to swing into the eastbound lane, he said. The trailer then collided with a truck driven by Douglass Vonbonn, 60, stopped facing east, which was knocked into another truck behind it, driven by Andrew Small, 26, Korbel said.
Traffic was blocked for three hours while the accident was cleaned up, he said. The greatest challenge was safely removing the blade, which was hanging off the truck.
All three trucks incurred significant damage, Korbel said, although he has not determined if any were officially totaled.
No citations have been issued yet, but the incident is still under investigation, he said.
Vonnbonn suffered possible injuries and was taken to Redfield Memorial Hospital as a precautionary measure, Korbel said.
The wind blade, manufactured by Molded Fiber Glass, was sold to General Electric, said Dave Giovannini, Molded Fiber Glass general manager.
The blade was on its way to a Spearville, Kan., wind farm under construction.
General Electric was in charge of the blade’s transportation because it’s their property once it leaves the factory, Giovannini said.
It was first time a truck carrying the company’s wind blades has crashed, as far as he can remember.
“I have never heard of one being in an accident before,” Giovannini said.
He does not know the extent of the damage to the blade. Molded Fiber Glass will wait for contact from General Electric, then probably will inspect the blade and determine if it is usable.