This story was updated at 3:16 p.m. to reflect additional details provided by officials and an eyewitness.This story was updated at 4:26 p.m. with three videos captured by a Times Free Press photographer.
A severe crash on I-24 East near Monteagle left thousands of eggs, pallets of cheese and boxes of meat worth millions of dollars scattered, smothered and covered over the roadway in a collision involving three eighteen-wheelers and two automobiles.
Witnesses described a scene in which one 18-wheeler overturned, spilling thousands of eggs all over I-24 and stopping traffic.
With vehicles thus halted, another tractor-trailer truck then barreled into a third that had pulled over, compounding the accident, injuring motorists and leaving twisted metal along the highway.
"This truck was parked on the side, and another 18-wheeler came around super-fast, swerved to not hit me, took out that trailer and then ended up down the road," said one witness.
The roadway was cleared shortly before 3 p.m.
The drivers of two of the trucks involved in the collisions declined to comment, though an injured automobile driver shared details with a Times Free Press photographer who was on the scene. That driver, along with another who was uninjured, did not provide a name.
According to officials on the scene, the first truck overturned after its axle snapped, spilling thousands of eggs all over the roadway. The truck that caused the second accident contained pallets of cheese, according to an eyewitness. And the truck that was hit while parked contained boxes of meat, with an estimated value of $3 million, according to the driver.
An eyewitness described the smell of the spilled meat, eggs and cheese as extremely unpleasant.