II-75 in Birch Run reopens after tanker overturns

Tanker leaked acid; Driver, firefighters taken to hospital for exposure to hazmat

Published On: Apr 22 2013 05:08:03 AM EDT   Updated On: Apr 22 2013 12:30:06 PM EDT
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BIRCH RUN TOWNSHIP, Mich. -

A tanker truck hauling acrylic acid overturned while its driver tried to avoid hitting a fire truck stopped for an earlier crash, shutting down a stretch of Interstate 75, prompting area evacuations and sending several firefighters to a hospital for treatment, authorities said.

Authorities were on the scene of a car fire around 5:30 p.m. Sunday when the tanker flipped while trying to avoid a fire truck on northbound I-75 in Saginaw County's Birch Run Township, about 70 miles northwest of Detroit, state police and fire officials said.

"The driver stated that he observed the fire truck in the roadway, but felt he was unable to stop before striking the fire truck, so he attempted to swerve off the roadway to the right in an attempt to miss the fire truck," state police said in a statement.

The tanker leaked some acid, police said, and the driver and several firefighters were taken to a hospital for treatment for exposure to the hazardous material. The driver's injuries were described as minor, and he was cited in the crash, police said.

An area outlet mall and a movie theater were evacuated as a precaution following the crash, MLive.com reports.

Southbound I-75 reopened more than 12 hours after the crash. Northbound I-75 stayed closed until noon Monday.

Midland-based Dow Chemical Co. said the tanker was carrying acrylic acid from one of its facilities to a plant in Midland, and assisted authorities in the response. Another tanker arrived at the scene on Monday morning to transfer the acid, WWJ-AM reported.

Dow's emergency response team "worked closely with third party emergency professionals at the scene," said Dow spokesman Jeff Martin.