March 24, 2009
Jefferson City, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster yesterday announced charges have been filed against Carl W. Westcott of Tulsa, Okla., for discharging ethanol into a ditch along U.S. Highway 60 near Willow Springs where it would likely pollute Missouri waters.
The Missouri Highway Patrol reported in March 2008 observing a semi truck, driven by Westcott, 49, dumping a liquid on the ground and in a ditch along U.S. Highway 60. The strong odor of alcohol vapor also was detected. Westcott admitted to the Patrol that he was attempting to dump part of his load, due to being overloaded, and that he had dumped approximately 500 gallons of ethanol. Tests by the Department of Natural Resources determined high levels of explosive vapor in the culvert under U.S. 60.
"Protecting Missouri's waters is of utmost importance," Koster said."One thoughtless act by an individual can cause environmental changes that take years to correct. There is no such thing as just a little pollution."
The unlawful discharge of water contaminants is a misdemeanor punishable upon conviction by up to one year in jail and/or a fine not less than $2,500 but not greater than $25,000. The charge against the defendant is merely an accusation and, as in all criminal cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until or unless proved guilty in a court of law.