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Semi crash caused emergency phone notifications Wednesday

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THOMPSON, N.D. -- A semi rollover east of Thompson caused a Grand Forks County road to close and cellphones to light up with notifications Wednesday afternoon.

Shannon LaHaise, dispatch center supervisor, said the Grand Forks Emergency Operations Center sends out notifications through a federal service, IPAWS, which is the same alert system that informs the public about severe weather or send out Amber Alerts.

LaHaise said the EOC sent out a notification about Wednesday’s crash because it closed a major road near a high-traffic time.

A Peterbilt truck carrying a trailer loaded with hot tar tipped onto its side and slid into the ditch at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, a press release from the North Dakota Highway Patrol said. The trailer broke and spilled hot tar on the roadway and ditch, causing the road to close for six-and-a-half hours, according to the release. The driver, a 21-year-old Manitoba man, was treated at Altru Hospital.

County Road 7 connects to a bridge leading into Crookston. LaHaise said the alert was sent out around the area so commuters could plan alternate routes home from work.

Decisions to send out alerts vary based on the severity of a situation, LaHaise said, but the department tends to lean toward notifying more people in order to promote safety.

“You always want to go more conservative and reach more people than less,” she said.

Anyone signed up for the CodeRED alert program was also notified by text message. LaHaise said the CodeRED program is a local notification system that allows people to opt into notifications about weather or safety. Visit the Grand Forks city website to enroll in CodeRED.