HazMat Kills WomanWerner Transportation Services Inc., of Gainsville, Georgia, has been indicted for a 2009 toxic ammonia leak that caused the death of a South Carolina woman.

This week, a federal grand jury indicted Werner Transportation Services Inc. on criminal misdemeanor charges.  If found guilty, the company could face a $500,000 fine for violating the U.S. Clean Air Act.

Werner Transportation Services Inc. is accused of negligently releasing 7,000 pounds of ammonia gas into the air at the Tanner plant near Swansea, in Lexington County, South Carolina.

According to The State, the leak occurred in June of 2009, when ammonia was being transferred from the Tanner plant into the Werner tanker.

“The leak occurred after a hose blew out while ammonia was being transferred between the Tanner plant and a Werner tanker truck. Some 7,000 pounds of poisonous ammonia leaked after the wrong type of hose was used to make the transfer, state regulators have said,” The State reported.

Unaware of the leak, 38-year-old Jacqueline Ginyard,  health care worker and mother of two, drove her car through the noxious ammonia cloud.  The toxic gas killed Ginyard and sent seven others in the area to the hospital.

“The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control fined Tanner $91,000 in 2010 for a series of emergency preparedness failures connected to the spill. Tanner officials have said they were relying on the trucking company to use the right hose,” The State reported.

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