Oil spill near Rangely
Law enforcement and hazardous materials crews responded to a large oil spill near Rangely on Sunday night.
A 2005 Freightliner pulling a cargo tank trailer filled with petroleum crude oil spilled thousands of gallons down an embankment after the driver overshot a turn at about 10:30 p.m., according to the Colorado State Patrol.
Driver Michael R. Carrithers, 32, of Dumas, Texas, was transported to Rangely District Hospital after he sustained injuries to his head, arms and legs. He later was taken to Denver Health Medical Center. His truck exited a left-hand turn and traveled off the right-hand side of the road about six miles from Rangely on Colorado Highway 139. The trailer rolled over. The driver was ejected from the vehicle when the driver tried to re-enter the roadway.
Capt. Dennis Jones of Moffat County Hazardous Materials Team said at least 4,000 gallons of oil was spilled down an embankment on the right side of the road and into Douglas Creek, which flows into the White River. Jones said the truck’s owner, Sen-Crude, has oil-rigging operations in the area.
Jones said the oil seeped into Douglas Creek, which is about 8 inches high. Jones said he didn’t think the contaminants reached the White River.
Nearby crews from Chevron arrived on the scene early and set up oil-absorbent materials a mile downstream from the White River to mitigate the effects. Colorado State Patrol’s HAZ-MAT team also responded to the scene. The Environmental Protection Agency was notified of the spill, Jones said.
“It will be very costly for the company,” he said.
Jones said Haz-Mat crews worked until midnight to contain the seepage. The truck held about 8,000 gallons of oil. It wasn’t determined how much was left in the truck after the tank rolled.
A clean-up crew was on its way from Denver at the time of the accident, Jones said.
Amy Hamilton can be reached at 824-7031.
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