Tractor Trailer Wreck That Shutdown Route 35 for More Than 24 Hours Scared Hazmat Crews

The Ohio State Highway Patrol responded to what was believed to be a routine crash on September 19. A commercial truck driven by 28-year-old Devin Harris of Illinois had left the roadway and rolled down an embankment. Harris was trapped in the cab, and was transported by medical helicopter to Grant Medical Center in Columbus after being extracted by the Coalton Fire Department.

Hazardous cargo causes mandatory shutdown

While the fire department worked to extricate Harris, concern was growing among first responders; the heavily damaged tanker was full of a volatile chemical called vinylpyridine. While no leaks were apparent, residents within a half-mile of the accident were advised of the incident, and the Ohio Department of Transportation shutdown Route 35 in both directions. The shutdown remained in effect for more than a day until a recovery team that could handle the chemical was located.

The Telegram reported:

“Jackson County Emergency Management Agency Director Robert Czechlewski… considered this the most potentially dangerous situation the local HazMat team has dealt with in the last 28 years. He said the tank holding the estimated 35,000 gallons of the chemical did not rupture, but was heavily damaged.  ‘This is a highly corrosive and flammable chemical,’ Czechlewski reported from then scene where he and many others were up all night. ‘This chemical is so dangerous that a lot of the contracting companies don’t want to touch it. The chemical is in a container, which was smashed, but didn’t rupture. It will have to be pumped from the tank and hauled away.’”

Big trucks hauling hazardous materials are a danger to everyone

Thankfully, the tank did not rupture, the driver survived, and the wreck was cleared. However, the danger that the accident posed is undeniable; vinylpyridine is corrosive to the human respiratory tract. Had the unthinkable happened, dozens of first responders and nearby residents could have been killed. Big trucks and their dangerous cargo are an undeniable hazard on our roads.

If you or your loved one has been injured after a commercial truck collision or exposure to hazardous cargo, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and lost wages. The experienced Ohio truck accident attorneys at Crandall & Pera Law can evaluate your case and help get you the compensation you deserve. Call our Ohio legal team at 877.686.8879, our Kentucky legal team at 877.651.7764 or contact us today for a free consultation.