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Overturned Commercial Vehicles, Hazardous Chemical Spill Closes Highway 22 near Gates
Sergeant Corey Simons
Oregon State Police - Salem
(503) 378-3387

Photograph links valid 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
Highway 22 east of Gates was closed about 4 hours Monday afternoon and evening following a commercial vehicle traffic crash in which a carton containing a hazardous chemical ruptured inside the semi-trailer. The liquid chemical spilled onto other chemical containers resulting in ammonia fumes coming from the trailer and the resulting highway closure until the incident could be contained by Northwest Firefighters Hazardous Materials team.
According to Oregon State Police (OSP) Trooper James Ward, on June 20, 2011 at approximately 2:26 p.m. a 2011 Volvo truck pulling a semi-trailer carrying miscellaneous food, groceries and mixed cleaning chemicals was driven by TIMOTHY L. RATZENBURG, age 33, from Palmdale, California traveling on Highway 22 near milepost 36. RATZENBURG reportedly lost control trying to avoid an unidentified obstacle on the highway and his truck and trailer overturned on the highway shoulder.
A carton containing a corrosive chemical, Sodium Hydroxide, ruptured leading to fumes emanating from the trailer. A decision was made to completely close the highway until a hazardous material response team could respond and stabilize the situation before the remainder of the cargo could be off-loaded and the vehicles removed.
RATZENBURG was not injured. His passenger, GERMAN OLAN, age 43, from Mohave, California received minor injuries.
Gates Fire Department assisted on scene with traffic control and initial identification of the involved hazardous material. ODOT coordinated further traffic control and scene clearance.
OSP is continuing the investigation.