Two crashes tie up traffic on I-70

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 6:13 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 12, 2009

COLUMBIA — A semitrailer crashed into a guardrail along Interstate 70 on Monday morning, spilling gallons of diesel, fire officials said.

The semitrailer was westbound on I-70 near the intersection of U.S. 63 at about 7:30 a.m. when the accident occurred.

At about the same time and in the same location, two passenger vehicles were  involved in an unrelated crash, police said.

"I know definitely there were two separate accidents," Officer Jessie Haden of the Columbia Police Department said. "The distance and time proximity made it appear as though it was one big accident."

The semitrailer spilled less than 50 gallons of diesel on the ground before fire officials could contain it, said Capt. Eric Hartman of the Columbia Fire Department. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources was also notified and offered advice for the cleanup.

"With the heavy rain, the fuel was mostly diluted, and we were able to contain a significant portion," Hartman said.

Haden said the driver of the semitrailer was sent to Boone Hospital Center and later released. One of the drivers in the passenger vehicles suffered a wrist injury.

Fire officials were at the scene for three hours helping direct traffic.

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