Crash closes half of I-70
VAIL ” Freeway traffic was delayed Thursday afternoon for more than an hour, and drivers re-routed through Leadville, after a tanker truck rolled over on Interstate 70, spilling what police said was hazardous material.
The truck, carrying alcohol ether sulfate ” also known as ethanol a gasoline fuel additive, which is flammable liquid ” rolled over in a freeway curve in East Vail at about 1 p.m.
“He appeared to have come into the corner too fast and rolled,” said Vail Police Sgt. Mark Allen, who was on the scene investigating the accident.
The westbound lanes, in which the truck had been traveling, were closed and remained so Thursday evening.
The tanker’s driver and a passenger were taken to the Vail Valley Medical Center where they were treated for minor injuries and released, said Suzanne Silverthorn, spokeswoman for the town of Vail.
The truck belongs to Integrated Transport Services and was going from Pasadena, Texas, to Salt Lake City.
At about 2:30 p.m., police re-routed miles of backed up traffic using a portion of the eastbound lane of the interstate.
“They are bringing a fuel tanker from Utah and they will pump the product in the empty tanker,” Silverthorn said. “We expect the highway to be closed well into the night.”
The westbound lane of I-70 was closed in the afternoon near Copper Mountain while emergency crews took care of the accident, Silverthorn said. All westbound traffic had to take Highway 91 and then Highway 24 to come back to I-70 in Minturn.
“Crews were also working on grounding operations in the area because there was a concern of a static discharge, which could’ve caused this to ignite,” Silverthorn said.
Richard Guy, a truck driver from Grand Junction, was right behind the tanker, but said he didn’t see the crash.
“He was probably going too fast,” Guy said.
Staff Writer Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or firstname.lastname@example.org.