LARGO — A hazardous materials team cleaned up 50 gallons of diesel fuel Friday that spilled when a car struck the side of a truck on East Bay Drive, closing several lanes and tying up traffic, according to Largo Fire Rescue.
The accident happened at 1:48 p.m. at East Bay and 69th Street. The front end of the sedan hit the truck's fuel tank, causing diesel to spill onto the roadway, according to Fire Chief Michael Wallace.
Firefighters said they also found a seriously injured man on the roadway, but didn't know how he got there and whether he was riding in one of the vehicles involved in the crash. The unidentified victim was taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.
Hazardous materials crews contained the spill and used a street sweeper to clean up the mess, Wallace said. The spilled fuel poses a danger to the environment if it gets into the storm drains, he said. But it also poses a danger to passing vehicles because diesel can degrade rubber.
"If you drive over diesel your tires become slick," Wallace said. "That's a real issue on a five-lane thoroughfare at 45 mph."
Motorists were advised to avoid the area for a few hours. Only one westbound and two eastbound lanes of East Bay were kept open.
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