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Driver injured, spill closes Route 119 for hours

August 5, 2011

A 1998 Peterbilt tractor-trailer driven by Michael D. Devos, 50, Pittsburgh, was traveling north on Route 119 when he lost control, spilling diesel fuel and corrosive acid across the road late Thursday. (Photo by Larry McGuire)

COVODE — A tractor-trailer transporting corrosive acid crashed and rolled over along Route 119 in Covode, North Mahoning Township, spilling the acid and diesel fuel across the road around 11:23 p.m. Thursday.

The road remained closed through Friday morning.

According to Punxsutawney-based Pennsylvania State Police, Michael D. Devos, 50, Pittsburgh, was operating a 1998 Peterbilt tractor-trailer north along Route 119 when he lost control while trying to negotiate a left curve in the road.

Police said the flatbed trailer Devos was towing traveled off the right side of the road, began to overturn and struck a traffic sign on the right side of the highway. The trailer then continued to travel northeast and struck a metal fence, while the cargo struck a tree and sign.

Police said Devos’ tractor continued to travel northeast, rolled over and struck another tree, a garbage dumpster and two mailboxes before coming to a rest on its left side about 20 feet off the road.

According to police, Devos’ trailer was hauling a corrosive acid used in the gas drilling industry, which spilled onto the road, along with a large amount of diesel fuel.

Police said Indiana County Hazmat treated the acid spill while first responders cleaned up the diesel fuel that had run into the storm sewers located adjacent to Juneau Road.

Jefferson County EMS transported Devos to Punxsutawney Area Hospital, and he was later flown via STAT MedEvac to UPMC-Presbyterian in Pittsburgh for treatment of moderate injuries.

According to Chuck Cressley of Jefferson County EMS, it transported one emergency responder to Punxsutawney Area Hospital for treatment of a physical reaction to the substances involved in the spill, and treated two responders at the scene.

Rebuck’s South Side Service removed the heavily-damaged tractor-trailer from the scene.

Police were assisted by fire departments from Perry Township, Punxsutawney, Rossiter, Marion Center, Jefferson County EMA, PennDOT and DEP.

Devos was cited by police for driving a vehicle at an unsafe speed. The investigation continues.

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