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A second accident occurred along the detour route, causing traffic to backup up through Canby for four hours last Friday.



PHOTO COURTESY OF CANBY FIRE DISTRICT - A tractor trailer overturned on Highway 99E north of Canby, causing major traffic delays for most of Friday (Oct. 21) afternoon.What a load, and what an afternoon for the Canby Fire Department.

A semi-truck carrying 30,000 pounds of chicken fertilizer overturned on the northbound side of Highway 99E just north of Canby on Friday, October 21 around 1:30 p.m., backing up traffic for miles all the way through town for about four hours, Canby Fire Department (CFD) Chief Jim Davis said.

Besides the 30,000-pound mess, the truck also had a small diesel fuel leak. While the Oregon Department of Transportation incident management team and Canby Fire used street sweepers and shovels to clean up chicken fertilizer all over the highway, as well as the fuel spill, traffic in both directions was diverted to South End Road where a second accident occurred, this one involving two vehicles, one trying to turn into a driveway and the other T-boning it, Davis said.

No one was injured in either accident and the three drivers each declined medical treatment from CFD’s EMT crew. The driver’s name and the name of the company that owned the truck were not immediately available.

“We diapered the tank so that no diesel fuel leaked into the dirt at all, and I completed a (hazardous materials) HAZMAT consult with the shipping labels that were by then on the ground,” Davis said. “I found the (cargo) consisted of 94 percent manure and pellets, and the remainder was water and sodium. There was almost no hazard at all with that stuff. Then it was just a matter of time — it took a long time to upright the vehicle and then to clean up the 30,000 pounds of chicken fertilizer.”

A van involved in the second accident, which occurred approximately 90 minutes after the tractor trailer overturned, was hit hard enough, even though both vehicles collided at a low rate of speed due to the heavy traffic on South End Road caused by the detour, to break its axle.

The van was moved out of the traffic lane but not without difficulty. Fire fighters had to direct traffic around the van until a wrecker from Bud’s Towing could get to the location, which took some time, Davis said.

“Getting any vehicles in there was almost impossible because there are no shoulders on the sides of the road for drivers to pull into – mostly just ditch,” he said. “We went ahead and stopped traffic and the wrecker pulled the van down South End Road so we could keep traffic going. The collision happened at a very low rate of speed because of the traffic, but they hit hard enough that the front wheels of the van were turned inward, as well as the axle being broken. We tried to steer it into the driveway but that was a no go. It wasn’t going to move. It was quite the challenge.”

Davis said drivers trying to commute north or south on Highway 99E must have been exceptionally frustrated because traffic just creeped along for hours while first responders worked to clear the road of any debris, and to get the van towed out of the way at the second accident scene. Davis said it took about two hours to clear the semi-truck accident scene and about an hour to clear the scene at the two-vehicle collision.

Traffic was snarled for at least four hours, but Canby FD received no telephone calls from the public complaining about the delays, Davis said.

“I’ve got to say, the comments from people driving by us while we were working to clear South End Road were all positive — thank you for helping direct traffic and for keeping things moving so we could get to where we were going on Friday afternoon,” he said. “I didn’t hear a single negative comment. People were all being really patient.”

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