Stolen Truck Wrecks in West Virginia, Causes Hazmat Spill

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) -- A man accused of stealing a pickup truck carrying chemicals from a Fayette County public service district was arrested after the vehicle wrecked during a police chase. Emergency crews cleaned up hazardous materials that leaked after the accident.

Randy Estep, 20, of Paint Creek was charged on Sunday with breaking and entering, grand larceny and fleeing a police officer, said Fayette County Sheriff Bill Laird.

Deputy Sheriff D.H. Duncan saw two pickup trucks traveling in a ``suspicious manner within the area'' while he was patrolling state Route 61 near Deepwater late Saturday, Laird said.

The pursuit began when Duncan tried to stop the two vehicles, one of which traveled up Armstrong Creek Road at a high rate of speed, Laird said. That driver lost control and wrecked the truck, and then fled on foot.

It was not clear Monday morning who was driving the truck that wrecked. The other suspect was not identified.

``An inspection of the pickup truck showed that it had been stolen from the Kanawha Falls Public Service District and that it contained a large quantity of various chemicals believed to have been stolen earlier in the evening from the same facility,'' Laird said.

Local firefighters and the state Department of Environmental Protection responded to the accident after chemicals spilled onto the road. Laird said the DEP had not released the types or quantities of the chemicals.

The DEP was working on an inventory Monday morning for police and expected to release more information later in the day, said Jessica Greathouse, the agency's chief communications officer.

Estep was being held at the Southern Regional Jail early Monday on a $25,000 bond.

Information from: The Register-Herald