Police are still investigating the cause of a tractor-trailer crash and spill early Monday morning that closed both lanes of Sperryville Pike (U.S. 522) in Boston for about six hours.
Authorities reopened the road at noon Monday, about six hours after the single vehicle, a tanker, apparently ran off the roadway just after 6 a.m., struck a guardrail and fence and overturned in a field, spilling about 3,000 gallons of emulsified asphalt. The tanker, driven by Wilbur Garman of Orrstown, Pa., was headed downhill in the southbound lane of 522 about a mile south of Round Hill Road.
No other vehicles were involved. The operator, reportedly out of the cab by the time rescuers arrived, was taken to Culpeper Memorial Hospital and later flown to University of Virginia Medical Center, his injuries described as non-life-threatening.
The asphalt, according to Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) official Mark Miller, who headed the cleanup that began Tuesday, did not reach a nearby creek before it solidified on the ground. The liquid, which Miller said is heated to about 150 degrees, would’ve begun to thicken and solidify shortly after hitting the ground Monday, when temperatures were in the 50s.
Virginia State Police trooper B.R. Johnson is investigating the cause of the crash; no charges had been filed as of Wednesday. Along with state police, responders to the scene included the Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office, Sperryville Volunteer Fire Company, Sperryville Rescue, Castleton and Washington fire and rescue units, two Culpeper County fire and rescue units, a Winchester-based hazardous materials team and officials from Virginia’s DEQ and Department of Emergency Management. VDOT set up a detour for cars, but large trucks were encouraged to use Route 229 between Culpeper and U.S. 211 in Rappahannock.
A 23-year-old Gainesville man was charged with reckless driving after the motorcycle he was riding struck a pickup truck just before noon Sunday on U.S. 211 in Shenandoah National Park, about a mile from Skyline Drive.
Virginia State Police spokesman Sgt. F. L. Tyler said Mark W. Johnston was headed west on his 2007 Triumph when he lost control on a curve, crossed into the eastbound lane and struck a 2010 Ford F-150 driven by Kenneth Harmon, 63, of Valley Lee, Md., who wasn’t injured. Johnston was transported to Fauquier Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and subsequently charged by state police trooper B. R. Johnson.