UNITY, WI – A milk tanker truck crashed on a highway bridge and then burst into flames Thursday morning, August 12, in Marathon/Clark County, Wisconsin. The single truck accident happened on State Highway 13 in the town of Unity, WI and may have occurred after the driver fell asleep. The truck accident area is in the central section of the state between the cities of Wausau and Eau Claire, about 132 miles west of Green Bay, WI and about 148 miles east of St. Paul, Minnesota.
At around 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning 28 year old Aaron Ruggles of Owen, WI was driving a semi tanker truck south on State Highway 13 in Marathon/Clark County, WI. The tank on the truck was filled with gallons of milk.
As the milk tanker truck traveled the highway near the town of Unity the truck driver suddenly lost control of his rig south of the juncture with Salter Road. The semi tanker truck crashed into a guardrail and highway bridge and then flipped over on its side. The impact broke open a section of the cargo tank as well as one of the fuel tanks. The truck burst into flames as milk and diesel fuel spilled out onto the highway.
The driver, Mr. Ruggles, was momentarily trapped in the cab of the tanker after the truck accident. He was able to crawl out of the burning cab and escaped serious injuries. Emergency personnel responding to the truck accident scene treated the truck driver’s head injuries and then transported him to Ministry St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield. According to authorities the truck driver was not wearing his seatbelt.
No other persons or vehicles were involved in the truck accident.
The Fire and Rescue team from Colby/Abbotsford responded to the truck accident site and battled the flames which engulfed the cab of the tanker. Once the truck fire was extinguished they spread an absorbent product on top of the remaining spilled diesel fuel. Mulch was brought to the area and spread on the fuel in order to keep it from getting into nearby Little Eau Pleine Creek.
A second milk tanker was brought to the scene of the truck accident and the milk in the disabled truck was transferred into the new tanker. Once empty the wrecked tanker truck was towed off the highway.
A section of Highway 13 was closed down after the truck accident while the various crews worked. The lanes would stay closed for almost seven hours reopening at around 4:30 Thursday afternoon.
Several departments were at the scene to investigate and reconstruct the truck accident including Wisconsin State Patrol and the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office. According to an officer with the State Patrol the preliminary findings point to the truck driver falling asleep while driving. Alcohol is not considered a factor in the crash and rollover.
No charges have been made at this time and the truck accident remains under investigation.
For more information about Pennsylvania trucking laws, truck injury causes and victims rights, contact a nationwide truck accident attorney at Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP for expert advice. For a free initial consultation, talk to a WI truck accident lawyer at 800.773.6770.