On Tuesday morning, just after 5:30 am, a tractor-trailer traveling northbound just south of Route 141 in Newport, Delaware was hit by a pick-up truck carrying a trailer full of hazardous materials.
The pick-up truck, a 2017 GMC Sierra with a trailer attached, had 1,500 pounds of organic peroxide. The contents spilled onto the highway.
Additionally, a 2014 Chevy Cruze driving behind the pick-up failed to swerve in time and crashed into the pick-up's trailer. The driver of the pick-up was trapped and rescued by crews and was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
A witness tells Action News that the driver suffered two broken legs.
Throughout the day, traffic was a mess around the area with many drivers simply stuck in place. "It increased my travel time by probably 100% at least," said Matt Mackeprang of West Chester. "If it normally takes me 20 minutes to get from point A to point B I'm looking at two hours."
DelDOT diverted traffic and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) focused on the clean-up. Ultimately, DNREC opted late Tuesday afternoon to burn the organic peroxide off the roadway. DNREC issued a shelter-in-place order for the half-mile radius around the spill while the burn continued for about 45 minutes.
"DNREC Emergency Response and Prevention section began burning off the peroxide at the scene shortly after 1 pm. The unified incident command determined that it was a safer option for emergency responders and the public than attempting to move the material. There are expected to be no lingering air quality impacts," said a spokesperson for DNREC.
The driver of the tractor-trailer and the operator of the Cruze were uninjured.
The operator of the GMC was transported to an area hospital for an injury to the lower extremities. The operators of the GMC and Chevy Cruze were both given citations for inattentive driving.
The company hauling the chemicals had no comment.