A wreck involving a semi-tractor-trailer rig on U.S. Route 35 in western Jackson County on Thursday morning, April 29, resulted in a spillage of diesel fuel -- and a major cleanup task which followed.

According to the Jackson Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the wreck occurred at approximately 8:05 a.m. at the exit ramp of the U.S. Route 35 Rest Area at the Cain Road intersection. This location is about three miles east of the Ross County line.

The Patrol reports that a 2020 Freightliner semi, driven by Meried Abrha, 40, of Keenesburg, Colorado was traveling westbound on U.S. Route 35. Abrha drove off the right side of the roadway, striking two stops and a light pole. Abrha and a passenger, John Abui Chol, 30, of Omaha, Nebraska were not injured in the crash.

As a result of the crash, approximately 50 gallons of diesel fuel leaked from the truck’s fuel tanks.

State Highway Patrol troopers were assisted at scene by Ohio Department of Transportation personnel, the Coalton Fire Department, the Jackson County HAZMAT Team, the Jackson County Emergency Management Agency (JCEMA), the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, and Jackson County EMS.

JCEMA coordinated the cleanup of diesel fuel, which spilled onto the exit ramp of the Rest Area and onto some nearby grass. JCEMA Director Roberts Czechlewski said absorbent pads and booms were put down to absorb the diesel fuel and contain its spread. The pavement was swept clean so the ramp and both westbound lanes of U.S. Route 35 could be reopened to traffic. Westbound traffic on U.S. Route 35 was reduced to one lane until just before noon.

A cleanup crew from Ron’s Garage in Jackson worked into the afternoon hours to remove the fuel from the soil in the grassy area. Representatives of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency were expected on the scene that same afternoon to inspect the cleanup work.