A truck carrying toxic soil out of East Palestine, Ohio, where a train carrying hazardous materials derailed in February, overturned Monday afternoon in Columbiana County, officials said.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said the commercial vehicle was hauling 40,000 pounds of contaminated soil along Route 165, near Waterford Road, when it crashed and overturned, according to the report. Nearly half of its contents spilled onto the roadway.

The driver, later identified as Phillip Falck, 74, of McDonald, Pennsylvania, suffered minor injuries from the crash. He was cited for operating a vehicle without reasonable control, FOX 8 Cleveland reported.

His tractor-trailer veered off the right side of the highway when it fell into a ditch and struck a utility pole. It then overturned onto its right side, causing approximately 20,000 pounds of toxic soil and other waste collected from the site of the train derailment to spill onto the nearby area, the Highway Patrol said.


Trucks and vehicles

Crews assist in cleaning toxic soil that was spilled along Route 165, near Waterford Road, in Columbiana County (FOX 8 Cleveland)

A local fire department responded to the scene as well as the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, who assured residents there is no threat to public health. 

Route 165 was closed at state Route 617 in Mahoning County and at state Route 14 in Columbiana County, the Ohio Department of Transportation said. The roads have since been reopened, FOX 8 reported

The soil removal is part of the massive recovery effort underway in East Palestine after the Ohio city suffered one of the worst train derailment-turned-environmental disasters in U.S. history over two months ago.

The initial derailment of the general merchandise freight train 32N took place on the night of Feb. 3. The train was traveling along the eastbound Norfolk Southern Railway when about 50 Norfolk Southern train cars derailed.

The train had approximately 20 cars carrying hazardous material, 11 of which derailed into the ground and nearby creeks and rivers.


Norfolk Southern is overseeing and paying for the cleanup and environmental damage caused by the fiery train derailment. So far, over 5,500 tons of contaminated soil have been removed from the area, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio EPA and EPA contractors collect soil and air samples from the East Palestine derailment site

Ohio EPA and EPA contractors collect soil and air samples from the derailment site on March 9, 2023, in East Palestine, Ohio.  (Michael Swensen/Getty Images)

More than 9 million gallons of wastewater have also been removed from the derailment site, state officials previously said.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources reported three weeks after the Feb. 3 disaster that the spilled contaminants killed an estimated 44,000 fish – mostly small ones.

The removal process remains active and the contents are being hauled to hazardous waste storage sites in Ohio and other states.

Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw testified before Congress last month and apologized for the impact the derailment has had on the area. The railroad also announced it is working on creating a long-term medical compensation fund for victims.

Ohio plume

A black plume rises over East Palestine, Ohio, as a result of a controlled detonation of a portion of the derailed Norfolk Southern trains, Feb. 6, 2023.  (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)


The federal government has taken legal action and filed a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern over the environmental damage caused by the derailment.

This year alone, train derailments have been recorded in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Alabama, Minnesota, North Dakota, Kansas, Washington and Arizona.

Five empty Norfolk Southern train cars derailed in Pittsburgh on April 8.

A derailed train

This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on the Swinomish tribal reservation near Anacortes, Wash., on Thursday, March 16, 2023.  (Washington Department of Ecology via AP)

Officials say five freight train cars derailed in Ayer, Massachusetts, on the morning of March 23. The cars were carrying sealed containers of trash and recycling material, the Ayer Fire Department said.

"There were no reported injuries to the crew, no hazardous materials involved, no leaks or spills of any freight and no impacts to the environment," railway operator CSX said in a statement. "CSX personnel are responding as the incident occurred on a line jointly owned with Norfolk Southern."

Another locomotive train derailment in Jasper, Alabama, on April 8. Eleven train cars were involved, but they were not carrying toxic materials, Norfolk Southern said in a statement.

"During the derailment, the locomotive rolled onto its side and as a result spilled some diesel fuel and engine oil," the railroad said Sunday. "Norfolk Southern crews have responded and have been working through the night on cleanup, and all of the involved cars have been cleared from the track."

Several train cars

Officials walk near the scene of a freight train derailment, Thursday, March 23, 2023, in Ayer, Mass.  (WCVB frame grab via AP)


Authorities say a train hauling ethanol and corn syrup derailed on March 30 in Raymond, Minnesota. The train had 22 cars derail, including about 10 that were carrying ethanol.

A Canadian Pacific train derailed in a rural area outside Wyndmere, North Dakota, on March 26.

Canadian Pacific spokesperson Andy Cummings said 31 of the 70 cars on the train derailed. He said four of the cars were carrying liquid asphalt and two were filled with ethylene glycol.

Another car carrying propylene was punctured and released some vapor, Cummings said.

Snow, a train

A BNSF train carrying ethanol and corn syrup derailed and caught fire in Raymond, Minn., Thursday, March 30, 2023.  (Mark Vancleave /Star Tribune via AP)

Train cars derailed and clumped together

Firefighters stand near piled up train cars, near Raymond, Minn., Thursday, March 30, 2023, the morning after a BNSF freight train derailed.  (Kerem Yücel/Minnesota Public Radio via AP)

Union Pacific officials said last month 13 cars came off the tracks in McPherson, Kansas.

Two of the derailed cars leaked alcohol, but officials said the spill was swiftly contained.

"There is no reason to have cause for concern," McPherson Fire Chief TJ Wyssmann said. "The product did get into a tributary and we quickly, with some assistance, got the tributary (contained) ... So we stopped that product from getting into Wolf Creek or further from the actual site of the incident."


Two BNSF trains derailed in separate incidents in Arizona and Washington state last month. 

The derailment in western Arizona included cars that were carrying corn syrup, while the one along Padilla Bay in Washington sent most of the 5,000 gallons of spilled diesel fuel toward a berm and a waterway.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.