JEFFERSON, WI – A tanker truck accident Friday morning, December 31, forced several residents to evacuate their homes in Jefferson County, Wisconsin. The semi tanker flipped over as it was leaving an ethanol plant in the city of Jefferson, spilling several thousand gallons of fuel as it overturned, and leading police to close part of Highway 26. The truck accident area is west of the Milwaukee metro region in the southeast corner of the state, about 134 miles east of McGregor, Iowa and about 120 miles northwest of Chicago, Illinois.
Early Friday morning a truck driver was at the Valero Renewables ethanol plant on Junction Road in Jefferson, WI. The unidentified driver was getting the tanker filled with about 7,700 gallons of denatured alcohol ethanol. The driver’s destination at the time of the truck accident is not known. Valero Renewables is a unit of Valero Energy Corporation based in San Antonio, Texas.
Shortly after 5:00 a.m. Friday morning the driver left the Valero plant and was on Junction Road headed toward Highway 26 when the truck accident occurred. According to police the truck driver drove through some soft earth as he left the plant, throwing the tanker off balance. The driver lost control of the semi tanker and the truck rolled over onto its side.
No other persons or vehicles were involved in the truck accident.
Local police and rescue workers responded to the single vehicle crash. The truck driver received unspecified minor injuries in the truck accident. He was stabilized at the scene and then transported to a nearby hospital where he is expected to recover.
The force of the rollover truck accident damaged the tanker section and the denatured alcohol ethanol began to spill out onto the roadway. The tanker would lose about 3,000 gallons of the potentially dangerous fuel, prompting local police to evacuate several nearby homes. Residents were forced to leave their houses until the area could be cleaned up and authorities deemed it safe for the residents to return.
The residents were allowed to return to their homes at around noon on Friday, about seven hours after the truck accident.
The ethanol also leaked onto Highway 26 and police shut down a section of the highway around the truck accident site. Part of Junction Road was also closed while a work team spent hours trying to vacuum up the spilled fuel off the highway. The team also dug up and removed any soil in the area that was soaked with the ethanol.
A second group concentrated on getting the flipped tanker truck back up on its wheels. A second tanker was brought to the truck accident scene and the approximately 4,700 gallons of fuel that remained on the disabled truck was drained and transferred to the new tanker. Once the overturned semi tanker was empty a heavy duty tow truck got it upright and hauled it off the roadway. The teams were still working at the crash site at 1:30 Friday afternoon.
Officials performed a reconstruction of the truck accident and interviewed the driver and witnesses. They have not yet released their findings to the public, but it does not appear that drugs or alcohol were factors in the crash. One theory is that when the tanker truck slipped on the soft earth, it may have caused the liquid fuel to slosh inside the tanker throwing the rig off balance.
No charges have been brought at this time and the truck accident remains under investigation.
For more information about Wisconsin trucking laws, truck injury causes and victims’ rights, contact truck accident lawyers Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP for expert truck accident advice. Visit our Wisconsin truck accident lawyer page for more information about Wisconsin truck accidents. For a free initial consultation, talk to a truck accident attorney at 1.800.773.6770.