Driver charged after gas tanker overturns on NC 96
Posted May 2, 2016
Updated May 3, 2016
Selma, N.C. — A truck driver is facing charges after a gas tanker overturned on North Carolina Highway 96 near Live Oak Church Road on Monday afternoon.
Lt. Jeff Gordon said that the truck ran off the road, overcorrected, and turned completely onto its left side, blocking the road.
The tanker was full of 8,500 gallons of gasoline and was leaking.
"It started to roll and turn and I could see the top of the truck roll over," said Witness Alan Barnes. "I could smell the fumes. I could see the gas spilling out."
The driver, John David Ennis, 45, of Benson, was taken to WakeMed for treatment of injuries sustained in the crash. He was charged with failing to maintain lane control Monday night.
Authorities said they don't believe speed was a factor in the crash.
Johnston County Emergency Management Coordinator, Kevin Masden, said that even though the spill didn't cause a fire, fuel spilled into a nearby ditch at an estimated rate of 10 to 30 gallons per minute.
Masden said an environmental team arrived to the crash site quickly, but cleanup operations were suspended for several hours due to the bad weather and risk of lightning.
"They are trying to contain as much as possible, minimizing environmental impacts with the leak," he said.
Masden expected that cleanup efforts would continue into the night, and said the section of road will remain closed until crews can assess the damage and remove the truck.
Residents near the crash site who requested assistance were placed in hotels by the American Red Cross, Masden said.