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An 18-wheeler overturned near the top of NC 226A, sending the driver to the hospital and closing both lanes of travel for several hours on Wednesday afternoon.

At approximately 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, emergency units and law enforcement responded to NC 226A near the McDowell and Mitchell County line after receiving reports of an overturned 18-wheeler.

According to Trooper Justin Sanders of the NC State Highway Patrol, the truck, hauling bags of sugar on the highway, had been traveling northbound up the mountain on a non-designated truck route when it suddenly dipped off the roadway and overturned, hanging partially off the embankment and spilling over 40,000 lbs of sugar.

The driver, whose name was not available on scene, was transported to Spruce Pine ER with injuries.

Although high rate of speed was not considered a factor, charges are nonetheless pending.

“It’s a non-designated truck route; I don’t think he was speeding at all, it’s just non-designated because you’re gonna flip over on it sooner or later,” said Sanders. “Another reason is he had to go left of center at about 30 different curves over there to make them and could’ve hit someone, but he’s gonna face some charges cause there’s a big flashing sign down there at the bottom that says ‘no trucks’.”

226A continues to be closed at two primarily locations: near the Little Switzerland Post Office and just north of Wild Acres Road, according to Emergency Services Director William Kehler. DOT crews are still on the scene assisting motorists at closure points.

Woodlawn-Sevier Fire Department, McDowell EMS, McDowell Rescue Squad and NCSHP responded or were dispatched to the scene.

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