BEATRICE – A semi-trailer truck overturned on its side in west Beatrice Tuesday afternoon, blocking U.S. Highway 136 for five hours.

The truck was northbound on the highway approaching a curve near Reed Street when it tipped over. The tractor and trailer ended up partly on the westbound lane in the middle of the curve.

A police officer at the scene said the truck driver was able to kick out a windshield of the truck to escape the cab.   The driver was taken to Beatrice Community Hospital for treatment of lacerations, from the accident. 

It was not immediately clear if the truck’s speed was a factor or if the driver may have fallen asleep.  

A Beatrice Fire Captain says the truck was hauling several containers of liquid fertilizer and some of the fertilizer spilled at the scene.  Firefighters use hazardous materials equipment to contain the spill and several bags of a drying agent to clean up the area. 

Northbound and westbound traffic was diverted around the scene south, to near the Gage County Fairgrounds.  The scene was cleared and the highway reopened, as of about 8:30 Tuesday evening. 

Beatrice Fire and Rescue, Beatrice Police and the Nebraska State Patrol all responded to the scene.