GASQUET, Calif. (AP) — A truck that crashed on a remote highway spilled 2,000 gallons of hot asphalt binder in a Northern California forest last week and the driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI, authorities said.
The semitruck had a damaged tire as it traveled on State Route 199 in Del Norte County on Tuesday, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The truck drifted off the road and struck a power pole, which fell into lanes near the town of Gasquet just south of the Oregon border, the highway patrol said.
The driver continued for another mile until the trailer overturned, spilling hot asphalt binder, which began seeping into the Smith River, SFGate reported Sunday.
“Asphalt binder turns into a solid substance once the temperature of the binder reaches about 100-125 degrees — which means when the material hit the cold river it turned into a solid,” Six Rivers National Forest said in a statement. “Although we are still concerned with possible harm done to natural resources, knowing more about the substance re-assures us the spread of liquid material in the river is minimal.”
State Route 199 was closed for hours during cleanup operations.
In addition to DUI, the 58-year-old truck driver was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor hit and run, SFGate reported.