Radioactive Spill Sends 10 People To Hospital
Head-On Collision Causes Chaos
Valley City, Ohio, June 4, 2002

VALLEY CITY, Ohio -- A spill involving radioactive materials forced a road closure and some tense moments Tuesday morning.

Radioactive Accident

NewsChannel5 reported that a pickup truck delivering medical grade radioactive fluid used for medical testing got into a head-on collision with another truck.

The situation sent safety teams racing to the scene, causing a minor evacuation.

The crash occurred at about 9:30 a.m. on state Route 252, also known as Columbia Road, in Valley City in Medina County.

Hazmat crews were called to the scene, and the Ohio Highway Patrol closed roads within a one-mile radius around the accident scene for several hours.

Lab technicians used Geiger counters to try to track down the radioactive materials dumped in the crash.

Tracy Sullivan, her 1-week-old daughter and young son were forced to evacuate, along with several others in the rural neighborhood.

"It's upsetting (and) it's scary, but I'm sure they'll do a good job cleaning it up," she said.

The spill was caused when the medical courier truck carrying the radioactive material slammed head-on into another pickup.

"The lead containers broke open, and the syringes came out," one official said.

Twenty-three lead-fill boxes exploded during the impact, causing dozens of syringes to spill onto the roadway. The syringes carried radioactive Tech 99 M, a liquid injected into a patient's body for diagnostic brain, bone, heart, and kidney scans.

"(We had to worry about) scene safety, a victim we had to take care of, traffic control and all these agencies coming in," said Chief Pete Berger of the Valley City Fire Department.

The drivers of both trucks, along with several safety personnel, were treated and released. All 10 of them were tested for Tech 99 radiation exposure at Medina General Hospital as a precaution.

Syncor International, the medical lab transporting the radioactive material, said that based on the bent-up case holders, the spill could have been worse.

"We've had a couple of accidents before, but none this serious -- none with another party involved," said Frank Alto of Syncor International.

Police said that the driver of the medical courier truck caused the accident, and charges against that driver are pending.

All of the radioactive syringes have been accounted for, according to officials.

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