Mt. Vernon, Ky. —
Local emergency responders helped make the scene of a dangerous wreck on busy Interstate 75 in Rockcastle County a little safer Tuesday morning.
According to Kentucky State Police, at around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, responders were called to a single-vehicle injury accident involving a tractor trailer located on I-75 northbound near the 62 mile marker.
KSP Vehicle Enforcement Officer Duffy Sutton learned that a 2005 International tractor trailer loaded with hazardous material left the roadway and crashed just off the right side shoulder of the interstate. The truck was driven by James A. Key of Tryon, North Carolina, according to KSP.
There were barrels on the truck carrying the chemical UN 1593 Methylene Chloride. As such, the Somerset-Pulaski County Special Response Team was called out to assist at the scene.
Chief Doug Baker of the Special Response Team said that there were five barrels and two of them had minor leakage.
“It is a hazardous chemical, so we had to go in with (protective) suits to take care of (the situation),” said Baker. “It’s not a huge health risk, but it is a highly caustic substance. If you get any on your skin, it can burn. There’s a small inhalation (risk), but skin contact was the biggest risk.
“It’s about the same as Drano, to give you an idea (of how caustic it is),” he added.
The local team — the only one in the area, meaning they are likely to get called out to similar incidents in a wide range of surrounding counties — were on the scene for hours, getting the call at about 5 a.m. and leaving the scene around 11:30 a.m.
When they left, the southbound lanes were open, said Baker, but the northbound lanes were still shutdown as other crews cleaned up the spilled diesel fuel.
Key was transported to a nearby hospital with non life threatening injuries. Drugs and alcohol are not suspected factors in the collision and seat belt usage is not known at this time, according to KSP.
Also assisting on scene were the Mount Vernon Fire Department, Mount Vernon Rescue Squad, Kentucky EPA, Emergency Management and Kentucky Highway Department.
Chris Harris is a staff writer for the Commonwealth Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.