HOPWOOD (KDKA) — Friday was a busy day for hazmat crews cleaning up after a crash involving a tractor trailer in Fayette County.
It was around 10:30 a.m. when the accident happened at the Hopwood exit. A box truck pulling a trailer suddenly lost control coming down Route 40 outside of Uniontown.
“We had a tractor trailer overturned,” Hopwood VFC Lt. Ricky Nicklow said. “It was carrying a piece of equipment for the railroad.”
Debris everywhere, the wreckage blocked both lanes of westbound 40. The driver was no longer in the vehicle.
“He wasn’t [anywhere] near the spill. He was actually in the grass over there,” Nicklow said.
According to investigators, the truck initially wasn’t on 40. It had exited the highway. Something happened, the driver lost control, it came up an embankment and right onto the roadway, and by good grace, there wasn’t another car around.
“Everybody is blessed and lucky at the same time,” Nicklow said.
For first responders, this wasn’t just a rescue operation. It quickly became a full-fledged hazmat situation. The truck’s fuel tanks were ripped open.
“It was leaking diesel fuel, approximately 200 gallons of diesel fuel,” Nicklow said. “At that time, we activated the local hazmat team to come out to the scene to help us with clean up.”
The cause of the accident is under investigation. Big trucks and the big hill there have a frightening history.
“We get activated a good bit for truck accidents,” Nicklow said.
The name of the driver is not being released. He was flown to a Pitsburgh-area hospital.