Commercial Vehicle Hauling Hazardous Liquid Nitric Acid Overturns in Tucson, Arizona

On Tuesday, February 14, 2023, at approximately 2:43 PM MST, a collision resulted in a commercial vehicle hauling hazardous material to roll over on I-10 eastbound between Rita and Kolb roads, just outside of Tucson, Arizona. The commercial vehicle, owned by Landstar System Inc., was hauling nitric acid in its liquid form. Once the vehicle overturned and the hazardous nitric acid spilled it created a dangerous combination of chemicals including nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, or red fuming nitric acid which resulted from various interactions to the vehicles fuel, outside air, and other chemicals/minerals on the ground. Residents in the surrounding areas were told to shelter in place by city officials but the actions of the officials were slow and did not account for the high wind gusts.

Officials Initial Response May Have Been Too Slow and Too Small

At or around 3:53 PM MST, over an hour after the spill occurred, residents within a one-half mile perimeter of the incident received orders to evacuate and residents within a one-mile radius of the incident were directed to shelter in place and avoid using home appliances that would bring outside air into their homes. This shelter in place order was initially lifted in the evening, and then put back into place in the morning at a three-mile radius surrounding the incident site when crews attempted to remove the remaining hazardous load from the vehicle and gassing occurred. Despite high wind advisories which should have called for a much larger radius for the initial shelter in place order, city officials failed to take adequate measures to ensure residents’ safety. This oversight may have exposed at least 14,000 residents to the dangerous mix of hazardous chemicals released by the collision, many of which may suffer adverse health effects depending on exposure levels and chemical exposed to.

If you have been exposed to this hazardous chemical release in Tucson, Arizona, contact our Environmental team of attorneys today to discuss your options.

Adverse Effects of Chemicals Released

Symptoms of exposure to the chemicals released by the spillage may include:

  • Burning sensation in the eyes, nose, or throat
  • Redness, watering, or itching of the eyes
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • Headache
  • Itching, scaling, reddening, burning, or blistering of the skin

If you are experiencing any or a combination of the above symptoms, contact us today!

Handling This Investigation

Portrait of Dana Vogel, Attorney at McCune Law Group
Dana Vogel

Dana Vogel manages McCune Law Groups Arizona branch. Ms. Vogel has been practicing law since 2013 when she joined the Arizona State Attorney General’s office as an Assistant Attorney General. While in this role, she specialized in antitrust and consumer fraud matters, going on to co-lead a litigation against General Motors in which she successfully secured a $6 million resolution for Arizona consumers.

Following her success as Assistant Attorney General, Ms. Vogel became the Attorney General’s Antitrust Unit Chief and, later, the Competition, Innovation & Privacy Unit Chief. As Unit Chief, she oversaw the Unit’s caseload and managed multiple attorneys and paralegals as they worked toward justice for Arizona’s consumers. While in this role, Ms. Vogel handled matters including Generic Drug Pharmaceuticals antitrust litigation alongside other State Attorneys General, Facebook antitrust litigation alongside other State Attorneys General and the FTC, and Google antitrust litigation alongside other State Attorneys General and the DOJ. Ms. Vogel has experience in data privacy, FinTech, competition law, consumer protection law, and antitrust cases.

Ms. Vogel was admitted to the Arizona State Bar in 2013.

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Are you a resident or motorist affected by this incident in Tucson, Arizona?