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Semi topples into Weber River, driver escapes serious injury

Published December 6, 2013 12:05 pm

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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A semi-trailer rig crashed into the icy Weber River early Friday morning, but the driver escaped with minor injuries.

Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce reported the driver was westbound on Interstate 84 about 5:30 a.m. when the rig, hauling a load of steel, went out of control and off the right side of the road near the Devil's Slide area of Morgan County. The rig went down an embankment and plunged into the river, near mile post 112, and landed upside-down.

The driver was able to exit the cab and climbed back to the road where he flagged down a passing motorist, who called 911.

Troopers discovered that both of the semi's 100-gallon capacity fuel tanks had ruptured in the crash and were spilling fuel into the river. Weber County hazardous materials workers were dispatched for cleanup.

Scott Braeden, an environmental scientist with the Weber-Morgan Health Department, said the fuel tanks were completely empty when the truck was finally fished out of the river. However, the amount of fuel that flowed downstream was limited because the water was frozen and much of the spill stayed on top of the ice.

According to Braeden, a crew managed to "vacuum" up the fuel from on top of the ice. Crews also deployed absorbent mats and "containment booms" — described as long cylinders that can soak up petroleum products — to catch the spill before it got too far down stream.

Braeden did not know exactly how much fuel spilled because it was unclear how full the tanks were at the time of the accident.

The truck also spilled a shipment of metal brackets into the water. Braeden said the brackets were still on the floor of the river Friday night, though authorities planned to require their removal.

The driver of the truck was transported to Ogden Regional Hospital to be checked out.

The cause of the accident was under investigation.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims