One reason why commercial truck accidents can be so serious is that many times the contents of the truck spill onto the road. Everything from large, heavy objects to toxic chemicals can create a road hazard for vehicles that weren’t even near the site of the crash.
Recently, a semitruck overturned on Interstate 90 near St. Regis, spilling approximately 56,000 pounds of talcum powder onto the road and into the St. Regis River. According to the Montana Highway Patrol (MHP), the driver was turning a corner near Drexel around 9:00 p.m. on Oct. 15 when the trailer section of the truck hit a barrier, causing the talcum powder he was carrying to fall out of the truck.
According to an MHP sergeant, they suspect that the driver was “traveling too fast for the corner.” However, he noted, “That doesn’t mean he was exceeding the speed limit.” The suggested speed limit is 45 miles per hour.
Although the powder was in bags, those bags ruptured, filling the eastbound lane with what looked like the aftermath of a snowfall. In some sections, it was estimated to be as high as 6 to 8 inches.
Because talcum powder dust can be dangerous if it’s inhaled, clean-up crews responded to get it off of the road as quickly as possible. Traffic was impacted for some 26 miles as crews worked to clean up the mess. First responders reported seeing the powder in the air as far away as three miles. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks were dealing with the powder that went into the river.
The driver, who works for a talc plant near Dillon, was not injured. No injuries were reported as a direct result of the crash. The fire chief noted, “I’m just really surprised we didn’t have a secondary wreck….It’s just that deep powder and it’s so fine, it just exploded when a truck would hit it.”
In the minutes following a truck crash and spill before law enforcement can block off the road, vehicles in the immediate area may not be aware of what happened. Secondary crashes often occur after a semitruck accident. If you suffered injuries in a crash like this, it’s essential to make sure that you determine who should be held responsible so that you can get the necessary compensation to cover medical bills and other expenses.