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Amber Alert

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Semi spills toxic chemical near Colorado River

Highway 68 was expected to be closed until 5 p.m. Wednesday after a semi-tractor trailer rig traveling faster than 90 miles per hour rolled off the highway leaking a toxic chemical slightly after 7 a.m., a fire department official said.

The Department of Public Safety and Bullhead City have sent hazardous material unit to the scene to help Department of Environmental Quality officials, a DPS official said.

The seeping chemical was about 100 yards from pouring into the Colorado River, Larry Tunforss, with the Bullhead City fire department, said.

The accident could have killed the river's fish and could have turned into "a major toxic event," Tunforss said.

The driver was sent to a local hospital, but Turnforss said he expects him to be released soon.

The 18-wheeler was apparently heading into Bullhead City over 90 miles per hour when the driver lost control and rolled into Davis Camp.

Turnforss said it's unclear why the vehicle was traveling so fast but suspects a problem with the breaks, a medical condition of the driver, or that the driver could have fallen asleep at the wheel.

The chemical was bleeding out of the trucks tank around 2 gallons per hour, Turnforss said. A temporary dam has been built to block the chemical from dripping into the near-by river.

Once a crane arrives at the scene, the material will be escorted off the truck and Turnforss said the roads will re-open but it may take a while.