Semi driver rolls his rig, spills liquid

A Grand Junction man was issued a summons Saturday after rolling an 18-wheel tanker truck on Colorado Highway 65, four miles from the Interstate 70 junction.

Russell Akans, 49, was driving westbound about noon when he lost control of his tractor-trailer on a curve in the road, causing it to roll at least once, police and fire officials said.

Initial police-radio reports said Akans was pinned inside the semi, but he managed to free himself by the time Palisade and Plateau Valley firefighters arrived at the scene, Palisade Fire Chief Richard Rupp said.

Akans was taken by ambulance to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries, Rupp said.

Akans’ destination wasn’t immediately known. The tractor-trailer is owned by Production Transportation. Initial reports said fluid suspected to be gas-drilling production water had leaked after the crash, threatening nearby Plateau Creek. Colorado State Patrol spokesman Sgt. John Hahn said owners of the tractor-trailer told troopers they were hauling spring runoff water.

About 10 gallons leaked, Rupp said.

Rupp said the same section of road was the site of a similar accident last summer involving a tanker driving too fast while turning on the same curve. Speed is a suspected factor in Saturday’s accident.

Akans was issued a ticket for careless driving, Hahn said.


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