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Gas Tanker Crash Kills One in Ore.

August 24, 1999

MAPLETON, Ore. (AP) _ A gasoline tanker truck collided head-on with a pickup near the central Oregon Coast on Monday, killing one person and spilling about 1,500 gallons near a creek that is home to threatened salmon.

The driver of the pickup was killed in the 5 a.m. crash on a winding state highway. The truck driver, whose tanker plunged 75 feet down an embankment, managed to climb out with only cuts on his face.

The tanker held 11,000 gallons in two tanks, but spilled only about 1,500 gallons, said Jennifer Bodine, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

The fuel saturated the soil about 150 feet from the banks of Knowles Creek, four miles from where it flows into the Siuslaw River, site of efforts to restore spawning habitat for coho salmon runs heavily damaged by industrial logging.

``It could have been much worse. As far as we know, none of the gasoline reached the creek,″ Bodine said.

Downstream from the wreck, gasoline could kill juvenile coho and chinook salmon, steelhead and sea-run cutthroat trout living in deep pools, said David Bayles, conservation director of the Pacific Rivers Council. The coho are listed as a threatened species.

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