Trucker pleads guilty after trying to sneak hazmat load into Eisenhower Tunnel
CLEAR CREEK COUNTY — A trucker pleaded guilty to multiple criminal charges Monday after he was caught attempting to drive hazardous materials through the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels earlier this year.
Marat Latypov, 43, of Brooklyn, New York, had a hearing at the Clear Creek District Courts in Georgetown on Monday, Oct. 26, when he pleaded guilty to two criminal offenses including attempting to influence a public servant (Class 4 felony) and reckless endangerment (Class 3 misdemeanor).
On March 18, Latypov stopped his truck on the shoulder of westbound Interstate 70 and flipped his hazardous materials placard over. He then attempted to drive through the tunnel but was stopped by Colorado Department of Transportation personnel who witnessed him switch the placard. Colorado State Patrol troopers also responded to the incident.
Latypov was carrying 28,500 pounds of sodium hydroxide in his truck, otherwise known as lye or caustic soda, according to the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. The trailer was labeled “immediately dangerous to life or health conditions” on the original bill of lading. By state mandate, all vehicles carrying hazardous materials must use U.S. Highway 6 at Loveland Pass in lieu of the tunnels.
Sodium hydroxide is combustible and capable of producing flammable hydrogen gas, according to the district attorney’s office.
“The safe way is the best way,” said Matthew Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol, in a release. “Hazardous materials are essential to our economy and way of life. With that, members of the community and public are counting on over the road truck drivers to operate safely and obey state laws. Your Colorado State Patrol will continue to work closely with CDOT and the trucking industry to make sure that truckers who try to evade hazardous load requirements are taken off the roadway.”
Latypov was granted an unsupervised two year deferred sentence in the case, along with about $1,000 in court fines and costs.
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