A four-vehicle wreck involving a pick-up truck that was carrying pool chemicals shut down both northbound lanes of U.S. 1 in Bunnell at 8:30 this morning. There were no injuries, but chemicals spilled, requiring the scene to be turned into a hazardous material scene. The county’s emergency management director was summoned. The northbound lanes remain closed for now, but are expected to open shortly.
The circumstances of the wreck are not yet known. The wreck took place about a quarter of a mile north of the State Road 100 bridge and the John’s Towing yard. (Saxon’s Towing was actually the wrecker at today’s scene.) The wreck involved a dump truck that appeared to be making a right turn onto a cleared field. A pool-supply company’s pick-up truck–a Chevy S-10–and a white minivan smashed into the rear of the dump truck. The driver of the minivan could not recollect how the wreck unfolded, other than that he saw the driver of the pick-up truck “abruptly stop.”
A Nissan Maxima sedan was also involved, its front end smashed. It was the first vehicle to be removed from the scene.
“We’re erring on the side of caution,” Kevin Guthrie Flagler County’s emergency management director, said at the scene, noting that the quantities of chemicals that spilled were minor. Hydrochloric acid and chlorine had spilled, he said. “The impact broke some containers,” Guthrie said.
“We contacted St. Johns County Hazmat Team who we’re under a mutual aid agreement with, providing us hazardous materials response to Flagler County,” Guthrie explained, “we told them what we had, we neutralized the [acid] with some baking powder which was already on the vehicle that was involved in the crash. We put that down in combination with some dirt. We’re now rinsing that off into the side of the road. The reason we didn’t leave it in the middle of the road is we didn’t want people to drive through it and then that baking soda kick up into the vehicles, into their air vents, some things of that nature, and have a potential issue down the road.”
St. Johns County hazmat did not respond. The county took care of the issue with Flagler County Fire Rescue, but the Department of Environmental Protection was sending a response unit later today to conduct an investigation, making sure the transportation of the chemicals was in compliance. The pick-up truck belongs to Blue Crystal Pool Service, a Weeki Wachee-based company. The truck belongs to MCL Trucking of Port Orange.
Authorities had not yet determined the exact cause of the crash, but the dump truck was making a legal right turn and had slowed down for it. The van and the pick-up truck rear-ended the truck possibly either for following too closely or lacking attention.
Bunnell Police Chief Tom Foster said one of his officers witnessed the crash as he was patrolling the area, or saw it immediately after it happened, and called it in. (Officer Austin Chewning was patrolling south on U.S. 1.) “Thankfully there’s no injuries, just a delay in traffic,” Foster said.
Foster said at least one lane would be open by 9:30 a.m. The sheriff’s office had closed northbound U.S. 1 at the State Road 100 westbound junction in Bunnell. Flagler County Fire Rescue and the Bunnell Fire Department also responded.