Tanker rollover spills jet fuel near Yampa Valley Regional Airport; closes U.S. 40 for 8 hours | CraigDailyPress.com

Tanker rollover spills jet fuel near Yampa Valley Regional Airport; closes U.S. 40 for 8 hours

Eleanor C. Hasenbeck/Craig Press

Editor’s note: This story has been updated.

HAYDEN — A fuel tanker en route to the Yampa Valley Regional Airport crashed as it attempted to turn from U.S. Highway 40 onto Routt County Road 51A at 3:15 p.m. Friday. The tanker rolled a quarter-turn onto its side and began leaking jet fuel under the highway.

About 100 gallons of fuel spilled into a culvert beneath U.S. 40. The semi was carrying about 6,700 gallons of fuel. Colorado State Patrol and Craig Fire/Rescue hazardous materials teams plugged the leak with wax rings and placed dykes at the end of the culvert to contain what had already spilled. The fuel remaining in the tank was transferred to another truck.

"The trailer dropped off the side of the road, and it just overturned a quarter of a turn," said Cpl. Jason Shimp, of Colorado State Patrol. "It turned over on its right side and just lifted the truck/tractor, or the power unit, off the ground a little bit."

U.S. 40 was closed for about eight hours as crews worked to contain the leak. Traffic was re-routed via Routt County roads 27 and 37. The highway re-opened at 11:13 p.m. Assistant Airport Director Tinneal Gerber said flight operations were not affected, and passengers used detours to get to the airport for the day’s final departing flight.

“YVRA appreciates the support and coordination of all the organizations that responded to the incident to help ensure minimal impacts on airport operations,” Gerber said in an email.

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The driver, 61-year-old Patrick Cluck, of Utah, was transported to Yampa Valley Medical Center, where he was treated for a concussion, and was released the same evening. He was cited for careless driving.

The Salt Lake City transportation company Savage Sweets Inc. owned the truck. Savage Sweets will be responsible for any additional clean-up of the fuel. Fuel spills often require contaminated soil to be dug out and removed, Hampton said.

Colorado State Patrol, Colorado Department of Transportation, West Routt Fire Protection District, Routt County Sheriff’s Office, Hayden Police Department, Craig Fire/Rescue hazmat team and airport operations/safety and maintenance staff responded to the scene.