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Leaking tanker closes Hwy 160 Tuesday
5/11/2007 By: Linda Lovendahl
The Colorado State Patrol stopped all traffic on U.S. Highway 160 for almost 11 hours due to clean up necessary by a state hazardous materials team. A gasoline tanker rolled on its side and leaked liquid.
The incident occurred at 10:55 p.m. Monday when a Peterbuilt tractor trailer driven and owned by Jack Geiser, 35, of Commerce City dropped its right tires off the edge of the asphalt, digging into the shoulder dirt and rolled over. This was at mile post 95.5, halfway between Narrow Gauge Mobile Home Park and Lon’s Automotive Salvage Yard.
According to Jared Rapp, a Colorado State Patrol corporal who responded to the scene, the driver’s right tires dropped onto the shoulder dirt for approximately 237 ft. Then the truck rolled 1/4 time and continued under the momentum of its speed for another 157 ft. on its rigid right side, partially blocking the eastbound lane. Once stopped, the tanker, carrying 8,300 gallons of gasoline, had flipped a 3/4 turn and ended up on its left side 19 feet from the road’s edge. After noting leakage from the tanker, Rapp alerted both county and state emergency services.
There was no alcohol involved in the incident. Geiser was wearing a seat belt and suffered only minor bumps and scratches.
Colorado State Trooper Jonathan Silver noted a dirt driveway midway along the path of the rutted tire tracks was probably what caused the diesel to roll onto its side.
Blayne Smith, technician with the hazardous materials section of the Colorado State Patrol, reported personnel were on the scene within 50 minutes of notification. He said, “A typical hazmat response is not like other emergency personnel. We assess the situation and if there is no immediate danger, we take our time to do the clean-up right and safely.”
Smith said it took a while to find a giant industry truck to come and pump out the tanker’s gasoline. One was found available and came from Bloomfield, N.M.
The CDOT electronic sign at Farmington Hill where Highway 160 meets 550 turned eastbound drivers around, while drivers from Bayfield were detoured onto CR 223. Local fire departments and Basin Towing were also on the scene.