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Fuel tanker crash blocks highway

Tue., March 24, 2009

Series of accidents reported on icy roads

A busy south Spokane County highway was blocked for most of Monday after a tanker truck carrying fuel burst into flames in an early-morning collision.

A southbound pickup driven by Cesar Carrillo, 24, of Spokane, tried to pass the tanker truck and lost control on U.S. Highway 195 at milepost 75, about 20 miles south of Spokane. The highway was closed until about 6:15 p.m.

The tanker, a 1996 Kenworth rig and truck driven by Michael L. Green, 50, of Spokane Valley, struck a concrete barrier and guardrail after Carrillo’s pickup slammed into its left side.

A 7,500-gallon fuel trailer went over an embankment while the semi, with its other 7,500-gallon tank, rolled onto its side on the highway and caught fire, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Green was treated and released from the Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center emergency room. Carrillo was treated and released from the Deaconess Medical Center emergency room.

The pickup came to rest down an embankment on its wheels, troopers said.

Fire crews from Cheney and Rosalia extinguished the blaze. The state Department of Ecology and Department of Transportation also responded.

It was one of a series of accidents Monday morning, including three that backed up commuter traffic on Interstate 90 near Freya Street.

Icy conditions were reported on area roads following Sunday’s daylong rainstorm. Temperatures dropped below freezing in Spokane and other locations as clouds cleared before sunrise.

•Another semi-truck was involved in an accident on I-90 about 4 a.m. just west of Spokane on the West Plains. One person was hurt and three others who were involved in the accident were not injured, troopers said.

•Spokane sheriff’s deputies were responding to a one-car rollover accident on Deer Park-Milan Road about 7 a.m.

•Another vehicle was reported off the roadway on Foothills Road at Forker Road.

•Troopers were called to the eastbound lanes of I-90 at Thor and Freya streets for a pair of accidents that occurred at 7:30 and just before 8 a.m. A total of five vehicles were involved.

•About the same time, troopers were called to the westbound lanes of I-90 near Thor for a two-vehicle accident.

•Spokane police were responding to an accident on Southeast Boulevard in which a vehicle reportedly hit a tree.

•Just before 8 a.m., another accident was reported near Waikiki and Mill roads.

•Idaho State Police said they had four morning accidents, but details were not available.

Staff writer Meghann M. Cuniff contributed to this report.

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