Officer burned by toxic chemicals during police chase files lawsuit

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by Nick Ochsner, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on May 9, 2014 at 6:19 PM

Updated Sunday, May 11 at 6:11 AM

CHESAPEAKE -- A California company who has operations in the Deep Creek area of Chesapeake is facing a $450,000 lawsuit from a police officer who says he was injured on duty by chemicals dumped by the company.

Officer Adam Pallett filed the lawsuit last week in Chesapeake Circuit Court.

In the lawsuit, Pallett claims he suffered chemical burns on his legs after running through a ditch that contained toxic chemicals, which had leaked from a nearby facility. Pallett was chasing a suspect on foot at the time of the incident.

Complaint - Pattett vs. Astro Pak Corp.

The lawsuit claims both Pallett and the suspect he was chasing suffered burns from the chemicals in the ditch.

Records obtained from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality shows the chemicals came from the Astro Pak facility on Steel Road.

The facility uses sodium hydroxide solution to clean metal parts.

An investigation by DEQ regulators found roughly 275 gallons of the chemical leaked from an open-topped container when an employee left a water hose running over night on March 10, 2013.

According to the lawsuit filed by Pallett, Astro Pak staff did not notify authorities of the leak and no action was taken to clean up the spilled chemical until after Pallett and the suspect were injured.

Astro Pak was fined $18,025 by DEQ and entered into a consent order to clean up the spilled chemicals.

Astro Pak released the following statement to 13News Now:

A spill occurred about 13 months ago and Astro Pak addressed the spill immediately, cooperating with the City of Chesapeake and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to insure that there are no future releases.  The site was remediated within days of discovery in coordination with the agencies involved.  We take our environmental responsibility seriously, and regret that members of our community were injured.  We will continue to diligently work to safeguard our team and the community.  Astro Pak has been a responsible corporate citizen, operating safely in the City of Chesapeake for over 30 years and will continue to do so.
--KEN VERHEYEN
President | Astro Pak Corporation


 

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