(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – Five people were hospitalized overnight when a semi hauling a load of asphalt oil crashed into an oncoming car in Clear Creek Canyon and flipped over, spilling its load. Highway 6 reopened at 3 p.m. more than 13 hours after the initial crash.

Authorities said at 1:49 a.m. the tractor trailer was traveling westbound on Highway 6 about a mile up the canyon when it veered into the eastbound lanes and hit a Jeep.

The Jeep rolled into Clear Creek next to the highway and the semi overturned, blocking both lanes of the highway.

Two other cars crashed into the semi, and one of those also rolled into the creek.

Emergency crews had to extricate three people from their vehicles. Two of the five people who were hurt were in critical condition in the hospital.

Both cars were pulled out of the creek, but the cleanup from the semi’s spilled load was expected to take most of the morning.

The tanker was carrying about 6,000 gallons of asphalt oil when it rolled over. About 600 gallons spilled out before it was contained. At 7 a.m. the tanker was still on its side on the highway.

The tanker was towed away just after 10 a.m. The road was expected to be closed until at least 1 p.m. while crews cleaned up the spill. The highway reopened at 3 p.m.

“The good news is that when that asphalt oil hits the ice and the frozen water, it hardens,” said Golden city spokeswoman Karlyn Tilley. “So it’s not leaking down into the creek as much as maybe some other chemicals would. It’s hardening, and they are able to get it out in chunks. The Colorado State Patrol hazmat crew is doing that now — trying to get that out of the creek and off the banks, and clear all of the debris off the roads.”

Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the crash. No charges have been filed.


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