Woman charged with DUI in crash involving explosive-carrying truck

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A 64-year-old woman has been arrested in connection to a multi-vehicle involving a tractor-trailer carrying explosive materials Tuesday.

The crash happened just after 5 a.m. on Highway 53 in Dawson County at Sundown Way. The highway is shut down in both directions near Blue Ridge Overlook and Dawson Forest Road.

Hours later, officials said they charged the driver of one of the vehicles involved, identified as 64-year-old Pamela Russell of Gainesville, with driving under the influence of drugs and failure to maintain lane. Authorities say Russell caused the accident.

Authorities said the accident involved a big rig that was carrying petroleum-based ammonium nitrate, which is used in explosives, overturned, spilling about 5 gallons of its cargo. The ammonium nitrate in and of itself will not catch fire and explode and needs a separate igniter, officials say.

The remainder of the material has been contained, with officials observing the vehicles so that the situation remains safe.

Two male subjects have been transported to a nearby hospital with minor wounds. 

Officials expect the vehicles to be moved by the mid to late afternoon. Motorists are being urged to avoid the area and to use alternate routes.

Authorities transported Russell to the Dawson County Jail.