UPDATE [6:59 PM EST]– The Michigan State Police from the Negaunee Post says Shawn Mocker, 30, of Marquette, was driving southbound on County Road 550 when he attempted to avoid a deer on the road. The evasive maneuver caused him to lose control and crash in the ditch, overturning the semi tractor and the two trailers it was hauling.
Mocker was uninjured in the crash but was found at fault for driving too fast for conditions.
CR 550 was closed to normal traffic all day while tow trucks and mining equipment brought the vehicle and trailers back onto the roadway. Traffic was allowed to pass each time heavy equipment was repositioned on the road.
The MSP says only a small amount of product spilled from the trailers.
MARQUETTE COUNTY — Officials are continuing their investigation into an early morning accident involving a semi-trailer ore hauling truck that had just left the Eagle Mine in north Marquette County.
It’s not clear if the accident resulted in any form of leak, although the area was not evacuated and officials at the scene only closed the highway to one lane traffic for several hours.
The accident happened about 3 a.m. Saturday on County Road 550 about two miles north of the Sugarloaf Mountain public parking lot. The Marquette Township Fire Department and other emergency agencies were called to the scene.
According to a Facebook post by Eagle Mine earlier this afternoon, local authorities and Eagle representatives were coordinating activities to upright the truck before 5pm. “The contents of the truck did not spill out of the trailers,” said the mine. Photographs of the scene show otherwise, however, the majority of the ore appears to remain contained.
Authorities were able to remove one trailer from the ditch and return the unit to the mine site. The decision was made to stop recovery efforts Saturday night. Crews will reconvene Sunday morning to free the remaining tractor and trailer, a process that will require traffic to be stopped while the work is being completed. Traffic will be able to pass through the area approximately every 30 minutes.
It’s not clear what kind of ore mixture it was hauling, although the mine is used to extract nickel, copper, and other minerals from the Yellow Dog Plains. The Eagle Mine has been opposed by environmental and Native American groups due to concerns over safety, pollution, noise and the dynamiting of a sacred centuries-old Anishinaabe religious and ceremonial site called Eagle Rock.
The large ore truck overturned off the right side of County Road 550 while southbound toward Marquette approaching a hill. The driver, whose name has not yet been released, was believed to only have minor injuries. The insignia on the side of the truck is M.J. VanDamme Inc. an Ore hauling truck contractor used by the Eagle Mine, a subsidiary of Lundin Mining.
Officials could be seen inspecting the woods in the area of the crash near where the truck plowed into the snowbank.
More exclusive photos by ABC 10/CW 5: