Auto accident leads to Haz-Mat spill


NEW WESTON – A two-vehicle crash Tuesday afternoon led to a hazardous material spill that prompted authorities to request heavy equipment to assist in the cleanup efforts on the scene. At approximately 3:30 p.m., emergency personnel from the Burkettsville Fire Department and Ansonia Rescue as well as deputies from the Darke County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched to the intersection of State Route 705 and Riegle-Bell Road in regards to a two-vehicle crash involving a trailer overturned with a possible hazardous material. Arriving crews found a two-vehicle crash with a small tanker trailer being pulled behind a pickup truck that had overturned spilling its contents in a ditch.

According to the Darke County Sheriff’s Department, a preliminary investigation into the accident revealed that a 2017 Ford Focus, driven by Rita Barga, 65, of Rossburg, was traveling northbound on Riegle-Bell Road when the driver, who was stopped at the stop sign located at the intersection of State Route 705 and Riegle-Bell Road, failed to notice and pulled into the path of oncoming traffic. The Ford Focus collided with a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado, driven by Randy Winner, 54, of Yorkshire, traveling westbound on State Route 705 causing the truck to leave the right side of the roadway resulting in the trailer of hazardous material it was pulling to overturn in the ditch and spilling nearly 800 gallons of a fertilizer consisting of 20 percent liquid nitrogen.

Both drivers of the vehicles were uninjured in the accident however authorities were prompted to call in heavy machinery to assist in the cleanup efforts of the spill. According to Josh Haney of the Darke County Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, the heavy machinery was called to the scene to help remove the top layers of soil that had absorbed the fertilizer. Fire and clean crews remained on the scene for several hours while cleanup operations took place. The chemical spill is not believed to pose any further risk to the surrounding environment. Darke County EMA also arrived on the scene due to the spill.

The accident will remain under investigation by the Darke County Sheriff’s Department.

Nearly 800 gallons of fertilizer spilled due to a crash on Tuesday afternoon. 800 gallons of fertilizer spilled due to a crash on Tuesday afternoon. Jim Comer |

By Jim Comer

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