A large tractor-trailer believed to be filled with asbestos-containing materials dumped its haul on the Clearview Expressway in Queens (NY) on Sunday afternoon.
According to police and eye witness reports, the New York Times reports that the truck struck a median divider and turned over on the Clearview Expressway near the Long Island Expressway on January 13 at about 3 pm.
The clean-up effort took several hours to complete, the article reports, and traffic on both the Clearview and Long Island Expressways was jammed into the mid-evening hours. Police say they were assisted by the rain and thankful that the snow which was to arrive never materialized, which would have made clean-up very difficult.
The driver of the truck, Artur Gaska, age 39, originally fled on foot after the accident. Police say that Gaska later returned and was arrested on the spot, charged with leaving the scene of an accident.
In addition, police believe that Gaska fled because the asbestos materials may have been on their way to an illegal dumping ground. In New York and in most states, dumps must be licensed to accept asbestos-containing waste. A further investigation is under way to determine whether Gaska and the company for which he works were indeed intending to illegally dispose of the toxic materials.