August 7th, 2008 5:33 pm | by Kevin Stark News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP, Cops and Courts

No. 1 Problem: Cops blame gas prices for increase in roadside bladder bombs

Tags: Health

Here's a new angle on high gas prices: Oregon State Police blame soaring prices at the pump for a sharp increase in how many urine-filled bottles litter crews find on a stretch of Interstate 84.

Huh? The theory goes like this: OSP Public Information Officer Lieutenant Gregg Hastings says it's long been true that commercial truckers will piss in a bottle rather than waste time to stop.

And Oregon Department of Transportation litter crews have usually found about 25 such bottles, sometimes called "trucker bombs," on their runs through a 25-mile stretch of I-84 in easternmost Oregon around Ontario.

But over this summer, that number has jumped to somewhere between 200 and 300.

“This is disgusting,” says Oregon State Police Sgt. Jason Reese, who was notified by ODOT about the bottles.

Reese attributes the jump along a stretch called ‘Three Mile Hill' to truckers skipping rest stops to save money given the high gas prices. “A lot of times when the drivers hit that incline they slow down and it makes it easier,” said Reese.

So why isn't this happening anywhere else? State Police spokesman Lt. Gregg Hastings says it is due the remote nature of Ontario.

Meanwhile, Ashley Hicks, 18, heads the litter crew of mainly high school students that pick up trash on that stretch. She says the bottles make up 30 percent of the trash they pick up on “Three Mile Hill.”

“It's disgusting, it makes me upset,” said Hicks.

If busted, violators receive a misdemeanor for “Improperly Disposing of Human Waste,” and can be jailed and fined $250.

But Reese says in the last decade no one has been busted for improper disposal. “You have to be in the right place at the right time,” Reese says.

[Photo courtesy of Oregon State Police]
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