Driver doesn't remember I-526 wreck that tied up West Ashley traffic

A portion of Interstate 526 in West Ashley had to be closed Wednesday after a tractor-trailer knocked down a support for a traffic sign.

A driver involved in a crash that shut down westbound Interstate 526 for six hours Wednesday said he was knocked unconscious after his truck hit a bump and that he doesn't remember the wreck, according to a crash report.

Matthew Middleton, 25, of West Branch, Mich., was ticketed with careless driving after the accident about 1:50 p.m. just northeast of the interchange with Paul Cantrell Boulevard. He was not seriously injured.

His 18-wheeler, a vehicle carrier without cargo, went off the westbound side of the road, entered the median and hit the foundation of an electronic traffic sign that spans the interstate. Crews from the S.C. Department of Transportation made repairs and reopened the Mark Clark Expressway about 7:50 p.m.

Damage to the sign was estimated at $150,000.

Witnesses told investigators from the Charleston Police Department that it didn't appear as though the truck driver braked before striking the sign.

The crash, which shut down all westbound lanes much of the evening and one eastbound lane for part of the afternoon, forced traffic onto local roads and created headaches throughout West Ashley and downtown Charleston. Traffic was bumper to bumper on most major roads in West Ashley, including U.S. Highway 17 and Ashley River Road, until the road was reopened.