I-74 truck crash spills ethanol

MAHOMET – Traffic on Interstate 74 was rerouted for several hours after a tanker truck filled with ethanol overturned east of Mahomet this morning, spilling the flammable liquid.

The accident occurred east of the Prairieview Road interchange at 8:47 a.m. when a Remco Transportation tanker carrying nearly 8,000 gallons of ethanol rolled over and into a ditch, according to State Police Sgt. Bill Emery.

The driver – Ted Ceiminski, 34, of Clinton – was injured and had to be removed from the cab of his truck. He was taken to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, where he was listed in fair condition at noon.

Both the eastbound and westbound lanes of I-74 were closed between the Prairieview exit and Interstate 57 in Champaign, Emery said. Later in the morning, eastbound traffic was blocked farther west at the Illinois 47 exit at Mahomet.

Eastbound traffic was rerouted onto U.S. 150, according to Emory. Westbound traffic was detoured south on Interstate 57 to Interstate 72, he said.

The tanker truck was upside down in the median of I-74, resting against a post for an overhead highway sign.

Fire crews and hazardous materials teams from the Cornbelt Fire Protection District and the Champaign Fire Department were on the scene, preparing for a contractor to unload the fuel, according to Dena Schumacher, spokeswoman for the Champaign Fire Department. An 800-foot area around the crash was cordoned off, she said.

Cornbelt Chief John Jay said 25 firefighters and command officers were on the scene.

"The interstate is all blocked off and will be for quite a while," he said.

Ethanol fumes and vapor are very flammable, Jay said.

"That's the big reason everything is being blocked off," Schumacher said. "We don't want any spark causing any fire or explosion."

A controlled burn of a ditch by a nearby farmer was put out as a precaution, she said.

The Department of Transportation was advised of the accident and signs were posted, Emery said.

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