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Residents worry about toxic spill in West Virginia truck accident

A truck carrying potentially-hazardous chemicals recently overturned in a West Virginia creek recently. The tanker truck was hauling fluid for a drilling gas wells when the truck accident occurred, causing the roadway to be closed for hours to clean up. Although officials claimed no chemicals were released into the creek, local residents remained unconvinced.

An environmental cleanup crew was called, and trucking company officials were supposed to move all the chemicals into another truck before the overturned truck was removed from the creek. At least one Department of Environmental Protection official was present at the scene to monitor activities.

It was acknowledged that some motor oil was released into the creek, so equipment was placed downstream to collect the oil and additional cleanup efforts are planned. The downstream intake for local water services was turned off, but was later turned back on. Officials stated that was a precautionary measure.

In most truck accidents, the impact is felt immediately. The massive size of commercials trucks puts passengers in smaller vehicles at serious risk of injury or death in the event of an accident. Beyond that, the danger associated with semi trucks can be exacerbated when the truck is hauling dangerous cargo. Hazardous or flammable freight can cause secondary injuries in an accident, including water contamination, respiratory problems or burns.

In some circumstances, the company responsible for the truck (and driver) can be liable for injuries that resulted from an accident in which their materials were present. This may even be the case especially when the trucking company does not take measures to prevent hazardous cargo from creating health risks.

Source: Parkersburg News and Sentinel, "Accident closes Doddridge County road," Jody Murphy, Dec. 4, 2012

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