Potato pickle: Whose mess is it to clean up, anyway?

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Forest officials are dealing with a large patch of rotting potatoes off Highway 22 on Teton Pass. The mess was left as a result of last December’s crash of a semi-tractor that was 18,000 pounds overweight.

Cleanup is normally the responsibility of the trucking company and/or its insurance carrier. Bridger-Teton spokesperson Mary Cernicek said she was under the impression cleanup of the site was done when the truck and trailer, which had rolled down a steep embankment some 200 feet, was extricated. After snow has melted up there, that was obviously not the case.

Potatoes and garbage are everywhere and the stench could attract bears and other animals, Cernicek said.

Forest officials are attempting to find out who is responsible and what could be done better moving forward with other incidents on the Pass.

The truck that crashed on December 22, 2016, was owned by a Florida-based company Safe and On Time, Inc. It was driven by Brigida Zelaya, 31, who was unhurt in the accident but had to be extricated with the assistance of Search and Rescue. The truck weighed nearly 80,000 pounds. The limit on Teton Pass is 60,000 pounds. In addition to being overweight, at the time of year the truck crashed the Pass was closed to trailer traffic.

Emergency crews respond to potato truck crash last December.

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