After an 18-wheeler hauling nitric acid was involved in a fatal accident, a shelter-in-place was issued, evacuation orders were given, and I-10 was closed. One day later, the highway was reopened by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
According to Fox 10 Phoenix, the accident happened on Feb. 14 near Tuscon, Arizona. It was reported that the trucker was driving eastbound when they veered off the road onto bumpy ground. The rough terrain caused the semi to tip over on its side. The impact of the trailer hitting the ground let the haul, toxic nitric acid, begin to leak into the surrounding area.
Authorities told locals within a half-mile to leave the area of the accident, and residents within 1 mile to stay put. Once officials were able to identify the leak as liquid nitric acid, they extended the shelter-in-place order for residents within 3 miles of the crash. The Department of Environmental Quality tested the air by the crash site for nitric acid Wednesday morning, and reopened the highway when none was detected.
According to Fox 10, “The acid sent up eerie yellow and red plumes over a section of the asphalt roadway that runs through dry land scattered with a scrub brush.”
Sadly, the trucker died in the accident. He has been identified as Ricky Immel, a 54-year-old trucker from Nevada. His service dog survived the crash and was taken back to Immel’s family members.
Watch USA Today’s video about the spill below: