LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (KRQE) - A tractor-trailer rig hauling road paint sailed off a highway in the Jemez Mountains Tuesday splashing its 2,200-gallon cargo into the forest.
A CareFlight medical helicopter airlifted the driver, Francisco Maes, 51, of Willard to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe. His condition has not yet been released.
Police said it appeared Maes was ejected from the cab as the truck and flatbed trailer tumbled about 200 feet down the mountainside scattering barrels of paint before the wreckage jammed into trees.
The Los Alamos Daily Post reported the rescuers used ropes, pulleys and a Stoke litter to help lift the man back to the highway.
The Los Alamos Police Department reports the crash happened about 11:15 when the cab and flatbed trailer went off a switchback on State Route 4 and tumbled down the mountainside west of the junction with SR 501.
White paint covered the ground and a tree near the highway while yellow paint coated the ground and several trees farther down.
SR 4, which runs from Los Alamos through Jemez Springs to U.S. Highway 550 at San Ysidro, remained closed until shortly before 5 p.m.
Additional closures are expected over the next several days as equipment is brought in to remove the wreckage and clean up the paint.
The paint is used for pavement lane striping.
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