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NORTH PLATTE, NE – A man was killed Monday afternoon, August 16, when his semi tanker truck flipped over and spilled thousands of gallons of fuel on a highway in Lincoln County, Nebraska. The truck accident occurred in the city of North Platte, on State Highway 83 near the North Platte River Bridge. The accident area is in the central west section of the state about 140 miles east of Sterling, Colorado and about 96 miles north of Oberlin, Kansas.

The trailer truck finally came to a rest upside down in a ditch running along the edge of the highway

At about 1:45 p.m. Monday afternoon 44 year old Donald Toof of Chadron, NE was driving his semi tanker truck north on State Highway 83 through Lincoln County, NE. Highway 83 is also known locally as Dewey/Jeffers Street. The tanker of the semi trailer was filled with thousands of gallons of gasoline.

As Mr. Toof drove through North Platte he was in the right northbound lane of the highway as he approached the North Platte River Bridge. A moment later the semi tanker truck hit the rail on the east side of the bridge which may have broken the front axle of the 18 wheeler.


The impact in addition to the broken axle threw the tanker off balance and it flipped over on its side trapping the driver in the cab. The trailer truck finally came to a rest upside down in a ditch running along the edge of the highway.

No other vehicles were involved in the truck accident.

The force of the truck accident split the tanker open and gasoline began to pour out onto the highway. One witness described it as a small lake of gasoline forming around the overturned tanker truck.

North Platte emergency personnel responded to the scene of the truck accident. After wading through the spilled gas to reach the semi cab they worked to free the driver who was pinned in the truck. According to authorities Mr. Toof suffered fatal injuries in the rollover collision and died before he could be extricated from the semi cab.

Officials with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department determined that the spilled fuel at the truck accident site posed a threat to the personnel and pulled the rescue workers back away from the flipped tanker truck. Three firefighters who were exposed to the gasoline were transported to Great Plains Regional Medical Center as a precaution.


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The North Platte firefighters remaining at the truck accident scene sprayed foam and water on the overturned tanker and spilled gas. They hoped to neutralize the gas vapors and keep the fuel contained and out of the North Platte River which flowed beneath the bridge. Additional crews from Lincoln County, Hershey, and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and HazMat arrived to assist in the clean up.

Mentzer Oil Company sent a tanker truck and crew to offload the gasoline that remained in the overturned tanker. According to reports the Mentzer team was able to pump about 5,200 gallons of gas into the second tanker truck. Once empty the demolished tanker truck was towed off the highway.

Officers shut down Highway 83 around the overturned tanker trailer and diverted traffic around the site of the truck accident. The highway was closed down for almost nine hours, reopening at about 10:30 p.m. Monday night.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Dept. conducted a reconstruction of the truck accident but did not release their preliminary findings except to say the truck driver was wearing his seat belt at the time of the collision. The Nebraska State Patrol Carrier Enforcement Division would be inspecting the tanker truck for any mechanical issues or violations.

No citations have been made at this time and the truck accident remains under investigation.

For more information about Nebraska 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 NE truck accident lawyer at 800.773.6770.

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