Friday afternoon in Chandler, AZ a man driving a box truck failed to stop at a red light. This disregard of the traffic light lead to a hit and run between the truck and another vehicle. Neither of the drivers reported injury, however, it’s clear that the truck driver was at fault, as the other vehicle had the right of way.
To make matters worse, the box truck was full of an at first unidentified chemical. Upon arrival to the scene, a police officer was exposed to this hazardous chemical. He was then taken to the hospital. Officers now believe the hazardous chemical to be Phosphorus, and about 60 gallons were spilled. Phosphorus exposure can cause immediate burns, especially when it comes in contact with the skin or eyes. It can also cause more severe reactions such as respiratory tract irritations or gastrointestinal irritations, so seeking immediate medical assistance for this police officer was extremely important.
If this situation wasn’t already bad enough, six nearby homes also had to be evacuated due to exposure of this toxic chemical. Homes remained evacuated while professionals worked to contain the spill. Clean up crews were sent out to these homes as soon as the police figured out what was going on.
After the car accident the driver of the truck then tried to flee the scene. He didn’t get very far, and police were about to find him in the area shortly afterwards. Officers then brought him into custody and discovered the man had two unrelated warrants for his arrest. It is unclear why the man was driving this truck with the barrels of phosphorus, especially since he had a revoked license. He will be charged with such, and well as with a hit-and-run violation and a failure to stop at a red light violation. The identity of the driver, a 42 year old man, is not yet released. The violations he is facing after Friday are serious, not to mention prior warrants.
With a spill of such a hazardous chemical, it is fortunate that only one man was hospitalized. Chandler Police Department acted quickly after reports of the car crash, and had rescue crews on the scene shortly after the knowledge of a chemical spill was acquired. The families of the evacuated homes are all doing well, minus the shock of the whole ordeal.
For an ABC 15 report of the accident, or to see news coverage footage, please visit https://www.abc15.com/news/region-southeast-valley/chandler/firefighters-crash-causes-phosphorus-spill-homes-evacuated