PUNXSUTAWNEY — The driver of a box truck hauling petroleum products lost control at approximately 2:35 p.m. Monday while traveling north on Indiana Hill (Route 119) and crashed into the guardrail on the bridge, which caused the truck to flip over and land on the Mahoning Shadow Trail below.
According to Punxsutawney Borough Police, the truck was driven by Gerald Luchini, Weedville, for Windward Petroleum of Ridgway and was carrying barrels filled with oil and antifreeze, which spilled into a small stream that flows into the Mahoning Creek.
Police said Luchini was transported by Jefferson County EMS to the Punxsutawney baseball fields, where he was flown to an Altoona Hospital by Stat MedEvac.
No one was on that portion of the Mahoning Shadow Trail at the time of the accident.
Tracy Zents, Jefferson County Emergency Services coordinator, said emergency crews were using absorbent materials to soak up the spill and building dikes to contain it to the small drainage stream so it would not flow into the Mahoning Creek before a Hazmat cleanup crew arrived on scene.
The petroleum products that were being transported on the truck were motor oil in 55-gallon drums and quarts, along with antifreeze, Zents said. The main environmental concern of emergency responders at the scene was preventing contamination to the drinking water supply.
"Obviously, we wanted to prevent (the substances) from soaking into the ground so it doesn't cause issues in the future especially with the rain and the weather," Zents said, adding the trucking company had contacted a Hazmat cleanup crew.
Police said Route 119 was closed for a time until the accident could be cleaned up and some type of barrier could be placed on the bridge until the guardrail is replaced.
Police were assisted at the scene by Central, Lindsey, Elk Run and Big Run fire companies, PennDOT and Jefferson County EMS.
The truck was leased from Hunter Idealease, Pittsburgh.