Semi runs into creek near Fruita

Photo by Dean Humphrey—The driver walked away from the wreck Tuesday morning after his tractor-trailer went out of control into a creek that flows into the Colorado River, upper left, near mile marker 18 along Interstate 70.

Traffic was rerouted for six hours Tuesday afternoon on Interstate 70 west of Grand Junction after a tractor-trailer struck a construction abutment and careened into a stream just upstream from the Colorado River.

The crash occurred in the eastbound lane just before 7 a.m. on the roadway near Fruita, leaving the rig stopped on a sharp angle with its cab dangling near the creek.

The truck’s fuel tank ruptured in the crash, and the Grand Junction Fire Department’s hazardous-materials team placed a boom at the mouth of the creek, hoping to prevent diesel fuel from reaching the Colorado River.

About 50 gallons of diesel from the truck’s fuel tank spilled into the river, according to Fire Department spokesman Mike Page. The truck’s trailer was empty, and the vehicle is a total loss, he said.

The driver, whose identity wasn’t released, was walking near the scene before he was taken to the hospital.

The driver sustained minor injuries, Colorado State Patrol spokesman Nate Reid said. Reid said he didn’t know the reason for the crash.

Traffic has been narrowed to one lane in each direction, and speed limits have been reduced to 40 mph in the area as crews work to repair bridges over two washes in a three-mile stretch. Vehicle width restrictions are 12 feet in work zones, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.


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