Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sewage truck flips in Ohio Gulch

Officials say accident poses no health risks

Express Staff Writer

A firefighter looks over a Ketchum sewage transport truck that flipped along Ohio Gulch Road on Thursday, Dec. 20. No one was injured in the accident. Photo by Willy Cook

A sewage truck hauling 6,000 gallons of waste from the Ketchum Wastewater Plant flipped Thursday, Dec. 20, on Ohio Gulch Road, north of Hailey. No one was injured.

Ketchum Wastewater Plant Manager Kellen Chatterton was driving the truck to the Ohio Gulch Transfer Station when the truck became stuck on an icy section of inclined road.

Chatterton called for assistance from plant Supervisor Dave Taylor. When the two exchanged positions in the truck, momentarily removing the brakes, the truck began to slide, said Blaine County Sheriff's Office Lt. Curtis Miller.

"By taking the foot off the brake we believe the vehicle started to slide or move," Miller said. "Due to the icy conditions the weight of the vehicle just carried it down the hill, and it rolled over."

Miller said the truck's load weighed 51,000 pounds.

Chatterton said he was walking to the transfer station to request that the portion of road be sanded when the truck began to slide with Taylor behind the wheel.

The truck slipped 50 to 75 yards, then dropped over a 40-foot embankment and flipped, coming to rest on its top. Taylor, however, leapt from the truck before it slipped over the embankment and flipped, Chatterton said.

"The trailer went over first, and due to its weight, it pulled the tractor and pulled it over," Miller said.

Taylor was busy filling out police paperwork Thursday morning and did not have time at the scene to recount the accident.

Authorities responding to the scene immediately requested that the busy road be sanded, which it was within a half-hour of the accident.

Authorities were working Friday to extricate the truck and contain the leaking effluent.

Authorities at the scene said the accident did not pose a health risk. They said they had consulted with the Environmental Protection Agency and Idaho Department of Environmental Quality officials already that morning.

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