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Crash, Fuel Spill Shut Down Mission Street in Santa Barbara

Tow truck collided with a parked car; police say driver may have been impaired or had a medical problem

A vehicle accident and resulting fuel spill led to the shut down of two major roads in Santa Barbara Thursday afternoon.

The accident involved a tow truck that collided with a parked car on Mission Street between Chapala and State streets shortly after 2 p.m., according to Santa Barbara Police Sgt. Mike McGrew.

A spill of diesel fuel from the tow truck's saddle tank prompted police and fire officials to shut down Chapala between Mission and Pedregosa Street, and Mission between State and De la Vina Street, causing major traffic tie-ups in the area.

Police were investigating whether the tow-truck driver, whose name was not released, was driving while impaired or may have suffered some sort of medical problem.

"He's not very coherent," McGrew told Noozhawk.

The driver, who apparently was heading to or had just left a nearby doctor's office, was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for evaluation.

Santa Barbara City Fire hazardous materials crews plugged the fuel tank and were cleaning up the diesel spill, which flowed about half a block down Mission Street. 

Gasoline is far more volatile than diesel and luckily, this leak didn't get into any storm drains, fire inspector Ryan Diguilio said at the scene. 

Roadways were open again by 4:15 p.m. 

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli reported from the scene.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Crews clean up a diesel fuel spill that shut down Mission Street in Santa Barbara Thursday afternoon after a vehicle accident. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

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