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Hazmat spill contained, backs up traffic

Monday, July 25, 2011

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(Photo by JARED JERNAGAN) [Order this photo]
BAINBRIDGE -- A tractor-trailer wreck and hazardous materials spill shortly before 10 a.m. Monday kept emergency personnel busy throughout the day.

At approximately 9:50 a.m., a call came in of an overturned semi tanker with an entrapped driver at U.S. 36 and U.S. 231.

Upon arrival, police and fire personnel found the driver, Leslie Charles Boles, 54, Friendswood, Texas, out of his vehicle with some cuts on his hands.

His truck, owned by Enterprise Transportation Company, Houston, was on its right side in the ditch on the northeast corner of the intersection. Diesel fuel was leaking from the semi tractor's fuel tanks, and an unknown substance was leaking from the cap of the tanker trailer.

Upon pulling the shipping manifest, they discovered the load to be 2-ethylhexyl acrylate, a combustible liquid. Both leaks were stopped and the substances contained. The substance from the tanker had been leaking into a storm drain, but this leak was contained before the liquid made its way into any nearby waterways.

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(Photo by ANDEW KELLY)
"Everything has been stopped from leaking," Bainbridge Assistant Fire Chief Mike Aynes said. "We're just trying to make sure we stop it from going into the creek."

Aynes credited help from the Greencastle Fire Department and its hazardous materials team in the containment efforts.

With the leaks stopped the waiting game began for fire and police personnel. Curtis Wrecker Service was on the scene, but the process of getting the vehicle upright was a long one. Local emergency personnel had contacted Enterprise Transportation, and the company advised the best way to get the vehicle upright was with airbags.

"We're trying to upright it under the advisement of the company," Aynes said.

For much of the latter part of the morning and afternoon, traffic was moving around the accident. However, once work on getting the vehicle upright began, motorists on both highways had to wait.

As of shortly before 4 p.m. Monday, the process of getting the rig upright was ongoing, with traffic backed up in all four directions.

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(Photo by JARED JERNAGAN)
Putnam County Sheriff's Department Lt. Danny Wallace said the accident occurred with Boles turning his vehicle from eastbound U.S. 36 onto northbound U.S. 231. The light for eastbound traffic was yellow, but Boles apparently tried to make it through at too high a rate of speed.

The momentum of his cargo as he attempted the turn was too much, and the semi overturned.

Wallace said Boles was to be transported to Putnam County Hospital by Operation Life for a drug and alcohol screening, which is standard procedure for CDL drivers.

Other personnel assisting at the scene included Bainbridge Police, Greencastle Police and Indiana State Police.



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