One Injured After Tanker Truck Full of Denatured Alcohol Overturns Near Troy, Missouri

By March 16, 2012 Trucking Accidents

As a Missouri semi truck accident attorney, I was interested to read about a potentially serious crash here in Missouri involving a tanker truck full of denatured alcohol. As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported March 14, the truck was involved in a single-vehicle accident on that day, before dawn. Perhaps because of the hour, the only person injured was the driver, John Suhr of St. Olaf, Iowa. He was airlifted to the hospital with serious injuries. However, the crash posed a serious risk of fire and explosion because denatured alcohol — sometimes used as a fuel — is highly flammable. As a result, the highway was shut down in both directions until about 1 p.m. for cleanup crews and a new tanker truck to take on the remaining alcohol.
According to the article, Suhr, 70, was headed south on Highway 61 when he veered off the left side of the road. He overcorrected and hit the median, which ultimately tipped the truck over on its right side. KMOV reported that emergency crews had to cut Suhr from the cab of the truck, where he was trapped. The accident spilled a small amount of the 8,000 gallons of denatured alcohol the truck was carrying, causing a slow leak. However, the majority of the alcohol remained in the truck. Because of the fire and explosion risk, authorities shut down the highway for the morning. However, no one living nearby needed to be evacuated, and authorities were able to avoid having the alcohol catch fire. Another tanker truck came to the site to transfer the remaining alcohol.
As a St. Louis big rig accident lawyer, I’m grateful that no one besides Suhr was hurt in this crash. The media did not report any charges or speculation on the reason for the crash, but Suhr’s driving was pretty clearly not as straight as it should have been. Given the hour, he may have simply been very tired — especially if he had been driving for a long time. This is such a common problem among truck drivers that the federal government actually regulates truckers’ hours of service, in an attempt to make sure they are fit to drive the multi-ton vehicles that share our roads with passenger cars. (That’s even more important in the case of a tanker full of potentially hazardous material, as here.) His age, 70, may also be a factor; age has been considered as a cause of other crashes, including a tragic Oklahoma crash from a few years ago.
Based in St. Louis and Belleville, Ill., Carey, Danis & Lowe represents clients across Missouri and southern Illinois who suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one because of a truck driver’s or trucking company’s negligence. That negligence means any decision they made with careless or reckless disregard for other people’s safety, as well as actual law-breaking. It’s not uncommon to see both, because trucking companies and truckers have a financial incentive to break federal trucking safety regulations — saving money but putting everyone on the road around them in danger. Our southern Illinois tractor-trailer accident lawyers help victims of these types of crashes hold the at-fault parties legally responsible for any injuries and deaths that result. That can include winning financial compensation for a death in the family, permanent disabilities and more.


If your family has been affected by a trucker’s or trucking company’s bad decisions and you’d like to fight back, call Carey, Danis & Lowe today. For a free, confidential case evaluation, you can reach us through our website or call 1-877-678-3400.
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