Runaway Diesel Tanker Truck Collides With MoDOT Work Truck, Injuring One

By April 5, 2011Trucking Accidents

As a Missouri tractor-trailer accident lawyer, I was pleased to read that no one was seriously hurt by a potentially serious crash here in St. Louis last week. As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported April 1, a diesel fuel tanker truck crashed into a truck owned by the Missouri Department of Transportation that day, briefly closing Interstate 70 completely in both directions. Fortunately, the crash didn’t cause a fire or a serious diesel spill, which could have caused an explosion. It did, however, send MoDOT employee Brian Heintzelman to the hospital with a minor injury. No information was available about the condition of the trucker. Parts of the interstate were reopened 20 minutes after they were closed, but all westbound lanes were closed again as a precaution when the fuel was removed from the tank.
According to the article, MoDOT was on the highway to fill potholes, with warning signs posted for the traffic behind. Two MoDOT trucks were there: one doing the work, and another positioned behind it to protect the working truck. The tanker truck apparently could not stop as it descended a hill between Zumbehl Road and Highway 94 around 11:15 a.m., and struck the protecting truck driven by Heintzelman. The crash pushed the protecting truck into another lane and sent the tanker truck into a wall, where the cab of the truck caught fire. Luckily, the fire did not spread to the 8,500 gallons of diesel fuel the truck was carrying, and a hazmat crew was able to clean up the scene without further injuries. A spokesperson for MoDOT reminded drivers to watch out for work crews.
When fuel tanker trucks crash, ruptured tanks can cause catastrophic fires and explosions, as residents of Florida’s Space Coast have unfortunately seen firsthand. That’s why, as a southern Illinois semi truck accident attorney, I’m very pleased that this crash was so minor. The article didn’t report anything about the tanker truck’s driver, but the description of the accident suggests that he or she lost control, which invites questions about the driver’s actions as well as the condition of the truck. If the truck was out of control because of problems with the brakes or other mechanical failures, the trucking company responsible for maintaining it in safe condition may be responsible. The trucker may also be responsible, if he or she failed to take necessary and ordinary precautions when coming down the hill.


At Carey, Danis & Lowe, we represent families that have lost a loved one or suffered severe injuries in a traffic accident with a large commercial truck. Unfortunately, the laws of physics don’t care who was at fault for a crash; the smaller vehicle will always take the brunt of a crash with a much bigger vehicle. In trucking accidents, that means people in ordinary passenger vehicles can be killed or suffer brain damage, paralysis and other serious injuries because of a truck driver’s or trucking company’s mistake. When that’s the case, our St. Louis big rig accident lawyers help victims hold the responsible parties legally liable for their injuries. Unfortunately, those injuries can be considerable in a trucking accident, including high medical costs and permanent loss of income as well as permanent disabilities or losses to the family.
If someone you love was seriously injured in a trucking crash that was not their fault, you should call Carey, Danis & Lowe today for a free consultation on your legal options. To learn more, contact us through our website or call us toll-free at 1-877-678-3400.