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A tractor-trailer loaded with paper products drove off a slushy Route 5 Saturday, rupturing a natural gas line that forced officials to close the road and cut off gas to area homes for several hours.

The driver, 49-year-old Bruce Edwards of Forestville, said strong winds pushed the trailer to the right and he was unable to make a turn in the curving roadway.

Edwards was treated and released at Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk, a nursing supervisor said.

The rig ran off the road at 7:35 a.m., striking two trees and a hedge row before severing an above-ground gas line and pressure pump house.

The impact destroyed a gas shut-off, Chautauqua County sheriff's deputies said.

Gas escaped from an open gas line beneath the truck, deputies said. After three hours, National Fuel Gas workers capped off the gas from the broken 10-inch line.

Deputies were prepared to evacuate private homes and a nursing home near the crash scene, but said they did not need to do so.

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