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Crash, Weed-Killer Spill Temporarily Close Interstate 70 East Near St. Clairsville

Photo by Carri Graham A tow truck loads up the pickup truck involved in Friday morning’s wreck on Interstate 70 east while responders block both lanes of traffic.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Interstate 70 east was closed for more than two hours Friday morning after a two-vehicle wreck caused one truck to spill around 200 gallons of weed killer onto the roadway.

Lt. Maurice Waddell, commander of the Ohio State Highway Patrol St. Clairsville Post, said the accident occurred around 8:50 a.m. when a pickup truck struck a dump truck while it was attempting to merge onto I-70 east from Ohio 9 in St. Clairsville. A dump truck driven by 41-year-old William Hutchinson of Barnesville came to a stop as he attempted to enter the highway and was struck from behind by a pickup truck driven by 27-year-old Thomas Flowers of Blaine, which caused the pickup truck to spill its load of weed killer onto the roadway.

Trooper Stanley Bittinger said three people including Hutchinson, his passenger and Flowers sustained minor injuries in the accident with two of the individuals being transported to East Ohio Regional Hospital.

Flowers was determined to be at fault and was cited for assured clear distance ahead.

The interstate reopened around 11:30 a.m. after the Ohio Department of Transportation helped clean the roadway. Waddell said the cleanup of the weed killer was the main reason for the long delay that rerouted traffic through the city on U.S. 40. He noted sand was used to soak up the potentially hazardous material and was then swept off the roadway. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was contacted and was expected to assess the residue Friday afternoon which resulted in a temporary one-lane closure of the roadway.

In addition to the OSHP and ODOT, Cumberland Trail Fire Department, St. Clairsville Police Department and the Belmont County Emergency Management Agency also responded.

At the time of the accident, the Distracted Driving Safety Corridor billboards stated there had been 122 days since the last serious accident occured. Waddell said he is unsure if the days will be changed to zero due to Friday’s crash.

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