updated 2/12/2007 5:59:04 AM ET 2007-02-12T10:59:04

Drivers on their way to breakfast in Northern Virginia on Saturday found it all over the road after nearly 165,000 eggs spilled out of an overturned tractor-trailer on the Capital Beltway.

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"It looked like a large omelet," said Michael Karbonski, of the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The tractor-trailer crashed into a guardrail just after midnight Saturday, spilling its runny load and forcing officials to close an exit ramp to Interstate 66 and the far left lane of Interstate 495 north for several hours. Everything reopened just after 11 a.m.

The truck driver fled the scene before police arrived and had not been located by Saturday afternoon, said state police spokesman Sgt. Terry Licklider. He said the driver would likely face charges for fleeing and possibly other offenses.

"For him to just up and leave like that, that's kinda odd," Licklider said.

The truck and trailer are owned by H.L.W. Inc. in Moorefield, W.Va., Licklider said. The owner of the company, H.L. Wilson, told The Associated Press he hadn't heard from the driver either.

"Don't know where he's at," Wilson said. "Don't know what the deal is."

Fairfax County police used a helicopter to search for the missing driver.

VDOT spokeswoman Joan Morris said the eggs made their way to a drainage ditch, where they created "a river of yellow yolk."'

It's a good thing it wasn't summer, officials said, because the mess could have been worse. But cold temperatures prevented workers from using any water to clean the road for fear of freezing the eggs and the roadway.

Instead, the cleaning crew used kitty litter — 250 pounds of it — to absorb the highway omelet then swept it up and took it away in three trash bins, Morris said.

Wilson, 60, said the eggs were destined for a hatchery in Salisbury, Md., where they would have become chickens to be eaten at fast food restaurants.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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