Local News

Tanker Overturns in Johnston, Spilling Gasoline

Posted February 22, 2008

— Clean-up efforts will continue for a couple days after a fully loaded gasoline tanker overturned in Johnston County Friday morning, bringing environmental crews to try to capture leaking fuel.

The tanker overturned on Dunn Road near Branch Chapel Road, pinning the driver, Kevin McCauley, 38, of Raleigh, inside.

Rescue workers struggled to extricate McCauley while dealing with two large leaks from the tanker. Selma firefighters laid down foam on the flammable gasoline.

"It was a very dangerous situation for us and the driver," Selma Fire Chief Phillip McDaniel said.

"As many gallons as we've got on the ground, just one spark is all it'd take, and we'd have everybody engulfed in fire," Wilson's Mills Fire Chief Ricky Barbour said.

Crews pulled out McCauley after a half an hour. He was taken to Wake Med. Authorities did not know details of his condition, but did not think his injuries were life threatening.

Multiple fire departments responded, and four fire chiefs oversaw efforts to clean up the leaking fuel in hopes of preventing a major environmental problem.

"We're diking it, ditching it, trying to catch it ... because if it makes it to the wood line, it's a swampy area," Barbour said. "That's why we're hoping the rain is going to hold off for us."

McCauley had just filled up the tanker before the crash, troopers said. Emergency crews estimated the tanker spilled about 2,200 gallons – about a quarter of the load normally carried by a full 18-wheel tanker.

Environmental workers pumped the remaining gasoline from the tanker and then set to work trying to recover the portion that leaked. The tanker truck was removed around 1 p.m.

Authorities were most concerned about the possibility of the gasoline getting into a nearby swamp or soaking deeply into the ground. Crews will likely continue the clean-up efforts for a couple of days.

State troopers said they would charge McCauley with driving too fast for conditions. He lost control of the tanker as it rounded a curve, and it rolled into a field, they said.

McCauley has received five speeding tickets over the past 15 years in multiple states, authorities said. He most recently appeared in a Wake County court for a traffic violation in January 2007.

The accident happened on a rural stretch of Dunn Road, so it did not have a major traffic impact during the morning commute. The road was expected to be reopened sometime Friday afternoon.

No homes or businesses had to be evacuated.


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  • bahville Feb 22, 2008

    "But there is plenty incentive to break the rules...there is encouragement to speed."

    And for that reason, penalties for large transport trucks speeding should be considerably more severe than for passenger vehicles, if they aren't already

    "I think a speed limit of 10 mph less than cars is rediculous."

    Agreed, most people roll ~10 mph over anyway. What needs to happen is tighter enforcement of the existing speed limit for semis and the like.

  • Skywatch_NC Feb 22, 2008

    Thankful that the trucker doesn't have life-threatening injuries.

  • Skywatch_NC Feb 22, 2008

    I hope someone from Raleigh DEHNR was there on the scene to scope things out, too.

  • OLD PIRATE 2 Feb 22, 2008

    THEWB : It is obvious your don't know much about the transportation of gasoline. The system barely meets the publics needs right now..lets add on some more cost..the "their" cost you refer to is yours and mind and frankly Mr. Green, we are already paying enough in cost to epa and other equipement dreamed up to protect every possible situation.

  • cuteboyd Feb 22, 2008

    What a waste of gasoline....especially with the high prices lately.

  • rumbleehockey03 Feb 22, 2008

    Gas Prices to hit a record high of $19 per gallon on truck accident.

    you took the words out of my mouth....i feel bad for people in that county

  • Right_N_Exact Feb 22, 2008


    I hauled gas out of Selma for almost 5 years and i agree with everything you posted.

  • areadriver Feb 22, 2008

    Another example of "everybody blame the big truck". Trucks only go as fast as the drivers make them go. Anyone behind the wheel should know what they can and cannot do. As a general rule of thumb, if you have to lean in your seat to make a turn, you are going too fast for the turn, regardless of the posted speed limit. Most, if not all, tanker drivers know this. I hauled gas for 6 years, knock on wood, I have never had an accident. But there is plenty incentive to break the rules. Drivers get paid by the load...which means, they DON"T get paid to sit in traffic, wait in line at the terminal, wait for a car to move out of the way at the gas station, etc. , so there is encouragement to speed. I think a speed limit of 10 mph less than cars is rediculous. With as congested as the roads are around here, everybody needs to keep up. I'm not saying go ahead and speed, but when you a a vehicle moving slower that the rest of traffic, it creates bottlenecks. Glad the driver is safe.

  • Tripwire Feb 22, 2008

    I'll be glad to help lighten that truck to make it easier to turn back over... just let me go get my buckets and barrels.

  • WardofTheState Feb 22, 2008

    Wow. Glad this guy wasn't hurt - this could have been a REALLY bad scenario.