Tanker leaks oxygen on I-78

June 25, 2009 9:09:14 AM PDT
Westbound Interstate 78 in Union, Hunterdon County, was closed after a tanker began leaking compressed liquid oxygen following a crash. A box truck slammed into the rear of the tanker, on the shoulder of the westbound lanes, near Exit 15 just before 11 p.m. last night.

The driver of the box truck sustained leg and pelvic injuries and was rushed by helicopter to Morristown Medical Center in critical condition.

The driver of the tanker had minor injuries and was taken to Hunterdon Medical Center.

The tanker, carrying 4,000 gallons of compressed liquid oxygen, sprang a minor leak in the crash.

But the leak forced authorities to evacuate two truck stops and two nearby diners as a precaution while the tanker was offloaded.

At one point traffic was backed up for six miles.

Nearby Route 173 was closed in both directions.

Liquid oxygen is flammable and has the potential to explode.


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