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Tanker overturns on Relief Route

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A portion of the Relief Route northwest of Roswell was closed Wednesday in response to an early morning rollover of a tanker truck carrying anhydrous ammonia.

New Mexico State Police responded to the accident at 4:48 a.m. in the area of West Berrendo Road and the North Relief Route, according to Ray Wilson, public information officer with the New Mexico State Police. The Roswell Fire Department also responded to the incident.

No one was injured in connection with the rollover; however, liquid was found leaking from the truck. Out of an abundance of caution, the Relief Route was then closed off for a half-mile in all directions, Wilson said.

The road closure was later reduced to 300 feet after further investigation determined the leak was not from the tanker portion of the truck carrying the anhydrous ammonia but the truck’s diesel fuel tank.

A second tanker arrived on the scene at about 9:30 a.m. and crews worked to offload the anhydrous ammonia from the overturned tanker and get the overturned tanker off the road, Wilson said.

As of 10:43 a.m. Wednesday, the scene remained active and Wilson said that it would likely continue to be for another hour and a half.

Inattention on the part of the tanker’s driver and traveling at excessive speeds were contributing factors that led to the driver failing to maintain his lane, overcorrect and then overturn the semi, Wilson said.

According to Wilson, State Police later issued the driver, William Brewer, 68, of Bent, New Mexico, a citation for failure to maintain traffic lane.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.