Authorities still searching for driver in crash |

Authorities still searching for driver in crash

Ryan Hoffman
The Colorado 13 bypass just west of Rifle city limits was closed between Garfield County Road 244 and Railroad Avenue for approximately six hours Tuesday.
Ryan Hoffman / Citizen Telegram |

Authorities are still searching for the driver of a vehicle that struck a semi-truck Tuesday and caused 4,000 gallons of oil to spill on Colorado 13 near Rifle.

Colorado State Patrol has attempted to identify the driver of a Saturn sedan that crashed into the semi-truck just before 6 a.m. Tuesday, but as of Thursday investigators had yet to identify the driver, according to Trooper Josh Lewis with CSP.

When law enforcement arrived on the scene Tuesday morning authorities found the semi on its side just off the side of the road. The driver of the semi, a 32-year-old Grand Junction man working for Knowles Transportation, reportedly complained of an injury but remained on the scene after the crash, authorities said on Tuesday.

The driver of the sedan, though, was nowhere to be found, and authorities have since been attempting to identify the person. According to CSP, the sedan was heading south on Colorado 13 when it drifted into the northbound lane and struck the semi-truck, causing it to jackknife. The semi struck a guardrail and tipped onto its side.

Lewis did not know if charges against the unidentified driver were being considered.

When the semi tipped, 4,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from the trailer and onto the shoulder of the road, according to a report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The contractor hired to cleanup the site, HRL Compliance, indicated there was a water source about 100 feet away but the oil did not appear to reach the water, said Mark Salley, director of communications for CDPHE.

CDPHE does have a spill response line for people to report spills, but the department does not compile that information into a single source, according to Salley. However, tanker trucks tend to be a fairly standard size, meaning the leaks generally fall into a general range, he added.

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