Officials Hope Education Will Help Prevent Some Toxic Accidents

Gulfport Fire Chief Pat Sullivan says his concern over materials transported through South Mississippi is two-fold.

"We have a real concern on the amount of product going across the interstate but also the different type of things and how they can mix when there's an accident and react with one another," says Sullivan.

Emergency responders found no toxins in Tuesday's incident involving a drum that fell off a truck and onto Interstate 10. But, MDEQ says this whole situation could have been avoided.

"If you're going to haul stuff by yourself, just a normal person, it's fine.  But, you need to have that stuff secured in your vehicle so you don't lose it, like this guy did yesterday, and just drive off and leave it," says Earl Etheridge, MDEQ Coordinator.

Sullivan says working to prevent such accidents begins with law enforcement looking for reckless speeding and driving on interstates.  He says different agencies monitor transported products.

"Then you have the responders who have been trained and are equipped and prepared when an accident does happen to respond to safely mitigate the accident," says Sullivan.

Sullivan says the general public also plays a part by reporting any suspicious or dangerous activity on roads or interstates. He says, you should try to get a tag number or make and model of the vehicle involved.  In the end, Sullivan says it can pay off big for law enforcement.

The fire chief has some advice for people who might find themselves facing a potentially dangerous situation involving transported materials.

"Leave it alone and make that report."

MDEQ says the driver has not been found. But if the driver is located, he or she will have to pick up the tab for the clean-up and face a possible $25,000 fine.