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Oil tanker crashes in Provo Canyon

By KSL.com | Posted - Dec. 20, 2010 at 5:03 p.m.


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PROVO -- Another crash involving a semi-truck carrying crude oil forced teams to close the Provo Canyon Highway for several hours Monday.

Just before 10 a.m., a tanker pulling two additional pups -- all filled with crude oil -- was traveling west through Provo Canyon. About 200 yards past the Sundance turnoff, the third trailer tipped onto its side but stayed attached to the others, said Department of Public Safety spokesman Brian Hyer.

Approximately 10 barrels of crude oil had leaked, but all of it was believed to have been contained before it reached the Provo River, Hyer said. The tanker was carrying about 65 barrels from Duchesne County.

Troopers got the road reopened just before 3:00 Monday afternoon

Weather was likely a factor in the crash, but it mostly had to do with a driver of a car who made a turn right in front of a semi truck.

"Two cars were waiting to make a left turn to go up to Sundance, one turned in front of the semi, the other one followed the first car," said trooper Tracy Jorgensen.

There were no other witnesses to the incident and the car that turned in front of the semi did not stop at the scene.

"It was going to get hit by the semi, but the semi swerved to miss the collision," Jorgensen said.

Troopers are crediting the driver of the semi with preventing what could have been a fatal collision.

"With a semi you are not going to win that battle, especially if you are in a small car," Jorgensen said. "You've got to make sure you leave room for people, because with slick roads you don't have good traction."

The tanker driver was not injured. Provo Canyon from about the mouth to the Charleston turnoff was closed through Monday afternoon. Crews needed to transfer all the oil into another tanker before up-righting the down trailer.

This is the second incident in Provo Canyon involving a truck transporting crude oil in the past week.

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Story compiled with contributions from Sam Penrod and Pat Reavy.

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