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Ohio truck driver killed and river polluted in horror tanker crash

A horrific crash that killed an Ohio driver carrying 7,500 gallons of diesel has led to environmental authorities trying to contain the fuel that has impacted a nearby creek.

The Summit County Sheriff’s Office and the Macedonia Police Department responded to a fiery crash on Saturday at around 9.15am.

The tanker truck was believed to have been travelling northbound on State Route 8 and attempted to get on Interstate 271 north when the truck lost control and went over the side of a bridge, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office said in a press statement.

The truck landed on State Route 8 and burst into flames. The driver of the truck, who has not been publicly identified, died from injuries sustained in the crash.

The Macedonia Fire Department told Cleveland 19 that there were a total of 60 firefighters at the scene of the crash.

As a result of the crash, the nearby Brandywine Creek caught on fire after 7,500 gallons of diesel from the tanker spread into the area, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency said in a statement to Fox 8.

“The nearby Brandywine Creek has been impacted with diesel from the crash. The creek briefly caught fire initially after the accident, and Ohio EPA’s on-scene coordinator is reporting the fire is out,” they said to the outlet.

“Ohio EPA is installing containment in the creek to stop the spread of the material and overseeing abatement efforts,” they added.

The state EPA also added to The Independentthat response crews began excavating impacted soil, and officials will take the appropriate steps to ensure that waterways and residents are safe.

They added that so far, several roll-off boxes of impacted soil and 3,500 gallons of diesel-impacted water have been removed from the site by the environmental contractor and will be properly disposed of.

Additional containment has been installed downstream of the site, but the Ohio EPA added that due to recent rain, high water is limiting access to some of the containment points to recover the material, but the impacted waterways are being monitored.

The horrific crash caused a fire and huge plumes of black smoke (Ohio Department of Transport/Fox8)
The horrific crash caused a fire and huge plumes of black smoke (Ohio Department of Transport/Fox8)

The sheriff’s office said on Saturday the ramp from State Route 8 to I-271 was closed, with State Route 8 also being closed in both directions, but Fox 8 has since reported that a portion of State Route 8 south of Northfield Centre Township had reopened by Sunday morning.

Ohio Department of Transportation spokesperson Matt Bruning said to CNN crews are inspecting both the bridge and the road, and the area where the tanker landed “will need to be repaved”, yet there is no current timeline for that.

An investigation into the crash is being led by the Summit Metro Crash Team, the sheriff’s office said.

In an unrelated incident, officials from Summit Metro Parks also put an alert on social media to say they are working with the Ohio EPA to respond to a “diesel spill runoff” into Rock Creek and Furnace Run Metro Park.

They added that Rock Creek Trail is closed, and Old Mill Trail is open, but visitors and pets should avoid contact with the creek and stream water.

The Ohio EPA and Summit Metro Parks confirmed to The Independent that this incident and the closure of Rock Creek Trail is not connected to the tanker crash and spill into Brandywine Creek.

The EPA said it was working to identify the source, stop the release and clean up the material.