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Spilled ice cream toppings, oily popcorn kernels blamed for Youngmann jam

Containers of caramel and raspberry ice cream toppings and bags of unpopped popcorn kernels swimming in cooking oil toppled from a vehicle during the Wednesday morning rush hour on the Youngmann Memorial Highway.

And that left a bad taste for motorists who experienced roughly a two-hour delay getting through Amherst as a result.

“The oil from the popcorn was slippery and there was a lot of it," said Dominic Creamer, coordinator of the town’s emergency services and safety department. “We wanted to clean up that and the toppings. We realized that if it rained, the roadway would become slick, so that is why we took the time to clean it off.”

Amherst police received a 911 call about 8:20 a.m., alerting them that “containers of food were everywhere” on the eastbound Youngmann, near the Sheridan Drive-Harlem Road interchange. When officers arrived, they discovered the mess was mainly along the center lane of the highway, so they partially closed the road for a cleanup.

Members of the Snyder Volunteer Fire Department arrived at 9 a.m. with a pumper truck and hosed down the pavement.

“It was warm enough to dry up pretty quickly," Creamer said. “We understand that it was a major delay, an hour or more for motorists, but we wanted to make it safe.” Creamer also said crews from the state’s Department of Transportation “put down an absorbent to make sure there were no slick spots.”

Traffic cones that diverted motorists into the far passing lane, away from the main area of the spillage, were removed about 10:45 a.m., and the flow of cars and trucks returned to normal.

Police say the driver who was transporting the food products apparently was unaware that the containers had fallen off his vehicle because the individual did not stop. No injuries were reported.

“It was a mess and a bunch of agencies worked together to keep motorists safe,” Creamer said.