AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Austintown police say it was a split-second of inattention that led to a mess on N. Meridian Road in Austintown Tuesday morning.
We’re told the driver of a flatbed semi stopped suddenly to avoid another vehicle turning in front of him, and his load of road-striping paint shifted.
“There was a van going by at the time, van got sprayed with the paint and the rest of it ended up on the ground on the road,” said Austintown Fire Chief Andy Frost.
While the driver of the minivan wasn’t hurt, the entire back third of her vehicle was covered in quick-drying paint. Police guess close to 1,000 gallons of paint spilled.
At the time, the semi driver was on his way to drop it off at the Mahoning County Engineer’s Office.
One of the first tasks firefighters had when they got to the scene was to make sure the paint didn’t reach a catch basin, which ultimately would have led to the local water supply.
“Our biggest thing was to contain it, and again, they put down booms and oil dry. We got the road departments out putting sand, so we built a dam,” Frost said.
By late morning, a clean-up crew was on the scene, pushing the thick, wet paint to the curb so it could be picked up by a vacuum truck. The fire chief said crews then scraped the material that had already started drying off the road so it could all be hauled away and disposed of properly.
While the driver of the semi, who’s from Florida, is being cited on a charge of assured clear distance, his company will be responsible for paying the costs.
“They’ll be on the hook for the bill for it,” Frost said.
N. Meridian Road was down to one lane in each direction during the clean-up but has since reopened.