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Tanker rolls in Willow Creek Canyon

Wreckage of the tanker blocks the southbound lane of US 191 Tuesday morning.

Sun Advocate associate editor

A semi-tractor hauling two tank cars of crude oil skidded off Highway 191 and rolled Tuesday morning in Willow Creek Canyon about six miles north of Helper.

The driver was injured but the tanks, although mangled in the crash, did not leak their cargo. The only spillage in the mishap came from diesel fuel and antifreeze from the inverted cab.

Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Levi Oman identified the driver as 49-year-old Lutui Whitkei, address not immediately available. Oman said Whitkei had no open wounds as a result of the rollover. Medical responders from Helper's Rescue 3 said that the driver was complaining of neck and chest pains. They added that the seat belt he was wearing probably saved his life. A Carbon County Ambulance transported Whitkei to Castleview Hospital.

Trooper Oman said that witnesses reported the Flying J truck was southbound when its pup trailer began fishtailing for some unknown reason at about 8 a.m. The shaking of the trailer then dragged the rear section of the larger trailer off the lip of the narrow shoulder, which caused the entire rig to flip.

The trooper said that neither speed nor driver impairment were factors in the incident.

The inverted tractor-trailer and debris blocked the southbound lane of the highway for several hours. The site was at mile marker 255, about four miles from the intersection of US 191 and US 6 at Castle Gate.

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