Semi crash closes 250, diesel fuel leaks into Vermilion River

Cary Ashby • Mar 8, 2013 at 11:47 PM

A hazardous material crash near the Vermilion River closed U.S. 250 for about five hours Friday afternoon.

The road was closed due to a fuel spill from a tank of a commercial tractor-trailer involved in the crash. The accident, which was investigated by the Ashland post of the state Highway Patrol, happened about 1 p.m. on U.S. 250 near milepost 4 in Ruggles Township.

A northbound semi lost the left rear tandem tire and rim, troopers said.

A 2007 Freightliner driven by George L. Szekely, 46, of Winston Salem, N.C., was southbound on U.S. 250 at the time. Troopers said Szekely hit the tire and rim, which caused him to travel off the left side of the road. The truck hit a guardrail, an embankment and stopped in the Vermilion River.

The northbound tractor-trailer continued going north. No further information was available.

No injuries were reported, but the collision caused the fuel tank on Szekely's tractor to rupture.

Troopers estimated 50 to 100 gallons of diesel fuel leaked from the tank. An unknown portion leaked into the river.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was called to the scene to evaluate the spill. The EPA later notified Sunpro Environmental Services for clean-up and decontamination of the area, troopers said.

Just after 2 p.m., District 3 of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) warned drivers to use caution in the area of the crash.

"U.S. 250, at its bridge over the Vermilion River approximately 5 miles north of the village of Savannah in Ashland County, is reduced to one lane of traffic controlled by flaggers due to a crash," ODOT spokeswoman Christine Myers said at the time.

A few hours later, an Ashland post dispatcher said ODOT had closed U.S. 250 between Ohio 60 and U.S. 224.

Assisting troopers at the scene were the Ruggles Township Fire Department, Ashland City Fire Department and Ashland County Sheriff's Office.

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