An 18-wheeler truck carrying fertilizer chemicals overturned around 6:45 a.m. Friday at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Loop 256.
According to Palestine Police Sergeant John Herod, the diesel-fueled truck was carrying ammonium nitrate, a high-nitrogen fertilizer commonly used in agriculture.
“We get a call that an 18-wheeler had overturned,” Herod said. “I get called out here, and we find out it's carrying hazardous materials. Ammonium nitrate and diesel don't mix real well, so it makes a pretty big deal.”
Ammonium nitrate, when combined with heat or another ignition source, has been known to cause violent combustion or an explosion.
Members of the Palestine Fire Department, who handle hazardous materials, decided to block off the area and “make a safe zone, at which time we shut the Loop down,” Herod explained, “basically to just keep everybody safe.”
The Loop was corded off at intersections of State Highway 19 North and Salt Works Road, respectively, but barricades were removed around 11 a.m.
The Palestine campus of the University of Texas at Tyler's Innovation Academy was closed pending clean up, and classes are scheduled to resume at 8 a.m. Monday.
No other vehicles were involved in the accident. The driver, whose name was undisclosed at press time, was taken to Palestine Regional Medical Center as a precautionary measure and released around 9 a.m. with minor injuries.
Herod said he did not know what caused the accident, but the weather may have had something to do with it.
“It just looks like maybe he hit a slick spot, may have turned too sharp.”