Accident Closes I-45 For Eight Hours

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An overturned tanker on Interstate 45 in Madison County kept law enforcement officers busy Tuesday. The accident closed the interstate for more than 8 hours.

The accident happened around 8 a.m. when an eighteen wheeler carrying a hazardous chemical and an SUV collided. The tanker overturned and spilled its load of styrene monomer, which leaked onto the interstate.

"If it explodes it's going to have a flash point or mushroom area of one mile," said Jeff Pirtle, trooper, Texas Department of Public Safety.

Styrene Monomer is a dangerous colorless oily liquid that is used to make plastics and polyester. It's dangerous if inhaled. Authorities evacuated homes in the area and closed I-45 in both directions.

DPS says the driver of the SUV had minor injuries, but the driver of the 18 wheeler had serious injuries and was trapped in truck for three hours.

"He was conscience and they couldn't allow anyone in until the tanker was foamed and berms were set up," said Pirtle.

The remaining styrene monomer was drained into another eighteen wheeler and hauled away. No other injuries were reported as a result of the spill.