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Crash spills 500-1,100 gallons of fuel into Cimarron River

SANTA FE, N.M. — An estimated 500 to 1,100 gallons of diesel fuel spilled into the Cimarron River in northern New Mexico after a commercial truck slid off a highway near Eagle Nest on Tuesday, according to New Mexico State Police.

“A federally approved hazmat team has arrived on scene to initiate assessment and clean-up,” State Police spokeswoman Sgt. Elizabeth Armijo said in a news release issued Wednesday. “State Police is working with other state and local agencies to inform those in the area who potentially may be affected by this incident. In addition, the (New Mexico) Environment Department is working with State Police to fully assess the environmental impacts of the accident and to ensure all is handled appropriately.”

The crash and spill happened around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday on U.S. 64, Armijo said.

According to the news release, a commercial motor vehicle hauling a tanker-trailer holding unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel was headed west when it slid off the north side of U.S. 64 and into the Cimarron River about five miles east of Eagle Nest.

“After impacting the river,” Armijo said, “the tanker trailer disengaged causing some diesel fuel to leak.”

State Police, the Eagle Nest Fire Department and the Raton Fire Department, which has a hazardous materials response team, responded.

The fuel was off-loaded from the tanker-trailer, the spokeswoman said, and the vehicle was removed from the river hours after the crash.

The driver of the commercial vehicle, operated by Fronk Oil Co. of Booker, Texas, was cited for careless driving, Armijo said.

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