Police: Wrong-way drunken driver struck tanker, caused fuel spill that closed I-526

Updated: Apr. 9, 2021 at 11:17 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston Police say a drunk driver traveling the wrong direction on I-526 struck a tanker, leading to a gas leak that closed the interstate for hours.

Madison Slawson, 25, is charged with driving under the influence, according to jail records. Slawson was given a PR bond and was released from jail.

Madison Slawson
Madison Slawson(Al Cannon Detention Center)

By 10 a.m. on Friday, all lanes of I-526 had been reopened, police spokesman Charles Francis said.

The crash was initially reported at 1:27 a.m. and blocked both sides of the interstate. The tanker was carrying gasoline and gasoline leaked onto the roadway. Charleston Fire, Police and EMS responded along with an environmental service company.

An incident report states police responded to a report of a head-on collision in the westbound lanes of I-526 involving an 18-wheeler gas tanker and a gray Toyota Camry.

Police also responded to an area hospital where Slawson had been taken. The report states Slawson was incapacitated at the trauma unit and police said her eyes were watery and bloodshot and said “a strong odor of alcoholic beverage was emanating from her person and breath.”

She told police she was attempting to get to a friend’s home in Summerville but had somehow gotten onto the wrong side of the interstate.

The report states she said she had been at a bar in West Ashley prior to driving her vehicle and told police she had three shots of whisky and one beer.

She told police she knew she was traveling in the wrong direction “but was unable to correct her mistake once she was traveling.”

The report states she was “grossly impaired,” unable to answer some of the officer’s questions “and fell asleep on several occasions as well.”

Police say they were unable to complete standardized field sobriety tests because she was under medical care.

But the report states she admitted to causing the crash. She refused to undergo chemical testing and police told her her license would be suspended for six months as a result.

Shortly after 8 a.m., some six-and-a-half hours after the initial report of the crash, Savage Road and the eastbound traffic on I-526 from Sam Rittenberg Boulevard to Glenn McConnell Parkway reopened, police said.

The crash involved injuries but they were not life-threatening, Francis said.

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