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Tanker crash spills 5,000 gallons fuel on reservation

Cleanup continuing more than a week later


by: PHOTO COURTESY OF PETER MURPHY, ODOT - Cleanup on the fuel spill along U.S. Highway 26, on the Warm Springs Reservation, was continuing on Wednesday, Oct. 2. A contractor had excavated a trench that was 288 feet long, 45 feet wide and 14 feet deep. The Oregon Department of Transportation expects to have a detour lane in place soon. Construction of the lane will start on Saturday.More than a week after the crash of a commercial fuel truck spilled about 5,000 gallons of fuel, on U.S. Highway 26, about 23 miles northwest of Warm Springs, a contractor continues to work to remove contamination and one lane remains closed.

The crash occurred on Sept. 24, at about 9:09 p.m., when a 2014 Kenworth truck and tanker trailer, driven by Kyle Taber, 31, of Bend, was eastbound on Highway 26 near milepost 81 and struck a bull elk on the highway.

Oregon State Police reported that Taber lost control as the truck and tanker trailer crossed into the westbound lane and rolled onto its side, sliding approximately 400 feet before coming to rest off the north side of the highway in bordering trees.

OSP and the Warm Springs Police Department worked overnight at the scene, and the highway remained closed for several hours.

Taber, who was driving for Central Petro Inc., of Bend, was transported to St. Charles Madras, where he was treated for minor injuries and later released.

An Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon Regional HazMat Team 3 responded to the scene to coordinate cleanup efforts with and fire personnel.

The spill was located about 200 yards from Beaver Creek, according to Peter Murphy, spokesman for ODOT. A contractor, which excavated about 20 feet of soil next to the creek, did not find contamination in the creek.

"There is still some concern that we'll have to get in under the highway and do some excavation," he said, adding that ODOT will know more about the extent of the damage Wednesday or Thursday.




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