|Emergency personnel and rescue crews assist a victim injured in an accident on U.S. Highway 6 last Thursday. The three-vehicle mishap involved a semi-tanker truck transporting diesel fuel. The impact of the collisions damaged the tanker and the fuel leaked onto the highway, delaying traffic for more than seven hours.|
An accident involving a semi-tanker truck, a car and a sports utility vehicle on U.S. Highway 6 caused traffic to be rerouted through the Columbia-East Carbon area for more than seven hours last Thursday.
The mishap, which occurred at approximately 4 p.m. on May 30, blocked the road primarily because of the threat of the flammability of diesel fuel spilled on the highway when the truck crashed as well as the fuel dripping from the rear trailer after the accident.
The situation was so concerning that fire fighters from Wellington and Price were dispatched to the scene, along with rescue crews. Officers from Wellington, East Carbon, the Carbon County Sheriff's Office and Utah Highway Patrol were also on the scene at checkpoints to control the traffic backup.
Utah Department of Transportation crew s and HAZMAT personnel stood by for three hours before starting to clean up the spill because an occupant was trapped inside the SUV for almost four hours before emergency crews could get the victim freed. Fortunately, the woman's injuries were relatively minor.
The mishap occurred when the northbound tank truck driven by Kelly Stoney, 41 of Ogden, reportedly crossed the center line and nearly collided head on with a 1995 Chevrolet Corsica driven by Regina Lucero, 31 of West Jordan.
The impact threw the Corsica off the west side of the road and trapped Lucero in the vehicle for almost an hour with a broken leg and toe.
Rescue personnel had to cut away the roof of the vehicle and bend it back to extract the victim.
After the truck hit the Corsica, Stoney apparently tried to turn back to the right. But the semi started to go off the road and the trucker purportedly overcorrected to the left.
The truck started to jack knife and purportedly struck a Nissan Pathfinder driven by Shannon Burke, 25 of Park City.
The impact forced the SUV off the road and the truck rolled onto the vehicle, trapping Burke inside.
The front compartment on the truck had fuel in it and almost immediately spilled out. The rear trailer stayed upright, but was severely damaged and fuel steadily dripped from it.
The accident occurred almost exactly at milepost 259 and Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Vasquez was less than a half a mile from the scene when mishap occurred.
"I was headed northbound when I got the call," said Vasquez. "They said milepost 259 on the radio and I thought it must be behind me, so I spun the cruiser around. And then I found out the incident was right on top of the marker, so I had to turn around again."
However, Vasquez was the not first emergency responder on the scene. A Moab paramedic traveling in a private vehicle stopped and was the first to start to give aide to the two injured victims.
The driver of the truck was able to crawl out of the cab and walked away with minor scrapes and bruises. Lucero was transported to Castleview Hospital with the fractures bones. Four hours later, an ambulance transported Burke to Castleview, with scrapes and cuts and a sore ankle. Burke remained under observation at the hospital until Friday.
Both drivers of the smaller vehicles and two passengers in Lucero's Corsica were wearing seatbelts. The passengers were not injured. The tank truck driver was not buckled in.
Crews pumped the fuel out of the tankers and the trailer was removed along with the Corsica before the road was opened back up Thursday night.
The truck and SUV remained until Friday, when the vehicles were separated and taken away.
The cleanup of the diesel soaked roadside will take a few days longer to complete, however. All the soil will have to be dug up by HAZMAT crews and hauled away.
Vasquez, who was the investigating officer in the mishap, indicated that Stoney was cited for operating a vehicle left of the center line in connection with the accident. The truck driver was also issued a citation for not keeping his log book up to date.