Trash truck flips, spills load on road

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— A fully loaded Waste Management truck flipped on its side on Elk River Road early Monday, spreading a load of trash that took two hours to clean up.

"The truck was coming around the corner and had a full load of waste in it. The whole truck eased over slowly and landed on its side in the left lane," Steamboat Springs police officer Dale Coyner said.

Part of the truck's rear suspension appeared to have been broken some time ago, and in combination with the full load, it caused the truck to turn over, Coyner said.

No one was hurt in the accident.

Driver Loyd Martinez said he was able to get out of the truck without too much trouble.

"I had enough adrenaline to get the door open and get out, but when I went back afterwards, I couldn't move the same door at all," Martinez said.

Martinez said he has been driving for Waste Management for a long time, and has not been in an accident for years.

Martinez has taught classes for Waste Management in Silverthorne. "People who teach others how to do these things shouldn't have accidents like this," he said.

Martinez said he was upset because the incident will mar his driving safety record, which is used for bonuses and employment benefits.

Police gave him a two-point citation for operating an unsafe vehicle.

"The ticket is more for Waste Management than for Mr. Martinez, but unfortunately he was the driver, so he gets the ticket," Coyner said.

Witnesses reported that speed was definitely not a factor, nor were road conditions, Waste Management site manager Mike Stinson said.

"Witnesses said it rolled over very slowly, and that the driver made a perfectly safe turn," he said.

Stinson is not sure who is responsible for the equipment failure. It is difficult to check such parts on the underside of such a large vehicle, he said.

The Steamboat Springs Fire Department was contacted because the truck was leaking some leaking antifreeze and diesel fuel.

"We just didn't want any sparks to make bad things happen," Coyner said.

The flip box containing the trash was removed from the truck to lighten its weight, and the truck was lifted to an upright position and towed away.

Waste Management cleaned up the trash before 9 a.m.

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