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Tanker Overturns on Freeway, Spilling Fuel Into Storm Drain

August 31, 1986

A tanker overturned Saturday morning on Interstate 5, spilling 4,400 gallons of aviation fuel into a storm drain and and triggering a six-car accident.

San Diego Fire Department spokesman Larry Stewart said the truck was on the curving on-ramp to Interstate 5 at 28th Street about 11 a.m. when the driver apparently lost control. The tanker struck a concrete abutment and overturned.

The bulk of the spilled fuel from the ruptured tank drained into a storm drain where it washed down to a culvert near San Diego Bay. The Coast Guard, state Department of Transportation road crews and the Fire Department's hazardous materials team built a dike around the spilled fuel and removed it before it could reach the bay.

Several hundred gallons of the fuel spilled onto the freeway, making the surface slippery and causing drivers to swerve and skid, setting off a chain-reaction accident that resulted in minor injuries to one motorist.

The injured man was taken to Physicians and Surgeons Hospital where he was treated and released, Stewart said.

The California Highway Patrol was able to identify neither the driver of the tanker truck, who was not injured, nor the injured motorist.

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