July 23, 2016

Mostly clear

Tanker driver killed in Beach Road accident

SHARON TWP. — The driver of a tanker carrying anhydrous ammonia to a farm on Beach Road died after his rig crashed just after noon Monday, according to the Ohio Highway Patrol.

Beach Road was shut down and nearby residents were evacuated because the tanker started leaking its contents, the OHP reported.

Anhydrous ammonia, which is stored as a liquid under pressure, becomes a toxic gas when released into the atmosphere. The corrosive gas can cause respiratory injuries and burn the skin and eyes. In high concentrations, it can be deadly, according to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report.

The tanker was en route to the Beach Road farm that has been the subject of controversy, according to authorities. Last month, about 275 people attended a meeting at Sharon Elementary School to voice concerns about the 12,000-gallon anhydrous ammonia tank approved for South Springs Farm.

On April 5, the Ohio Department of Agriculture granted F. Bruce Simmons a permit to install a tank on his corn and soy farm at 7444 Beach Road. In Ohio, there are about 198 anhydrous ammonia tanks comparable to the one Simmons is installing. The ODA only approves one or two tanks per year, Mike Beal, agricultural inspector administrator for pesticides and fertilizer with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, said at the June meeting.

The tanker driver’s name has not yet been released.

Medina County HazMat and the Sharon Township Fire Department are among the agencies working the accident scene.

Check back at www.medina-gazette.com and read Tuesday’s Gazette for more on this story.