Local News

Fuel Spill Could Keep U.S. 301 Closed for Days

Posted March 5, 2008

— Authorities said a 2-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 301 in Wilson County could remain partially closed for days while clean-up continues from a fuel spill early Wednesday morning.

About 6,000 gallons of gasoline gushed out of the Wilco Transportation truck around 2:45 a.m. and splattered across the road, soaked into the median and swirled in a nearby creek. A major clean-up effort was underway.

The truck was carrying about 9,000 gallons of fuel, a full load for an 18-wheeler.

The truck, driven by 60-year-old Rudy Stout, was headed north on Highway 301 when it veered off the road, just north of N.C. Highway 581 between Lucama and Kenly.

The tanker hit a pine tree, rolled over and slid down the highway. A wheel popped off and the cab disconnected from the trailer, police said. The cab then ended up in the woods next to the southbound lane.

Stout was pinned inside for about an hour while rescue crews freed him. He was taken to Pitt Memorial Hospital and was in stable condition, though officials did not disclose the extent of his injuries.

Stout has been a driver for Wilco for two years, and he worked as a driver for other companies previous to that, officials said.

Firefighters sprayed foam on the road to contain the spill. Wilco officials hired a private company to clean up the fuel, which officials said could take days to fully clean.

"They'll excavate this and get it back to 100 percent," said Wilco Transportation Risk Manager Dan McCormick. "You'll never know an accident happened, except for that scar on that pine."

Approximately 60 people from emergency crews in three counties responded to the scene when the crash was first reported.

"Gas is very explosive, and you run the risk of having very intense fires," said Gordon Deano with Wilson County Emergency Management. "That's the reason foam was laid down. That's the reason we closed the highway."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • OLD PIRATE 2 Mar 6, 2008

    THE WB:Do you think you live in a perfect world. Do you have a clue what these tankers cost already? You have millions of gallons of gas delivered safely every day in NC yet you want perfection... I doubt if you would be willing to pay the price. I'm not!

  • Mustang Sallie Mar 6, 2008

    This man should be removed with no benefits given him, and go to jail. He did wrong. (and he knows it.)

    By the Grace of God, should he survive without any lasting injuries we will NOT let him know what you think, should an ACCIDENT ever happen to you I certainly hope that people do not place you under a microscope and be as critcal as you have! Noone knows what tomorrow holds for any of us, try living by that standard and you may not be so negative!

  • justwondering2 Mar 6, 2008

    re: this man should be removed with no benefits and go to jail. he did wrong and he knows it.

    Removed from what? He did wrong? Has there been an official statement that he has done wrong? Go to jail??? for what? not being perfect and having an accident? please... don't hate

  • patti3 Mar 5, 2008

    This man should be removed with no benefits given him, and go to jail. He did wrong. (and he knows it.)

  • oceanchild71 Mar 5, 2008

    I have an uncle who is a truck driver and he is a very cautious driver. And while the vast majority are law-abiding and considerate drivers, there are more than a few who aren't. Now, before anyone says that the same could be said for regular passenger vehicles (I know), the difference is that if one passenger vehicle gets into a wreck, usually it is a single car accident or it involves one other vehicle. If a big rig loses control on a busy highway, you're usually talking many vehicles involved. That is reason enough that the big rigs should not be doing 80 mph on US 1 or 70 mph out on Highway 55.

    Thank goodness that hopefully this driver will be okay and no one else was involved.

  • Vincenzo R. Abacus Mar 5, 2008


    Money, plain and simple. The majority of Americans are not willing to absorb any more punishment at the gas pump right now, which is where the costs of such efforts would be borne.

    Re containers for radioactive wastes, I recall seeing video of them taking all manner of abuse - including a flaming eighteen wheeler tanker full of gas, and a direct hit by a train locomotive. We don't buy our uranium by the gallon, so I guess it's easier to sneak these costs into our utility and tax bills ;)

  • TheWB Mar 5, 2008

    Why do these tankers leak? Why are they not made to contain their loads in the event of a roll over? This is the 21st century, we should be able to manufacture a container that doesn't spill it's load when it rolls over. Hit by a train OK, a hundred foot fall off a cliff OK, a head on collision with another truck OK, but to simply turn on its' side is unacceptable. I bet nuclear containers won't leak under the same circumstances. At least I hope not.

  • whatusay Mar 5, 2008

    When something like this happens it is usually due to falling asleep at the wheel, or being cut off by another vehicle. Hope he was not sleeping.

  • whatelseisnew Mar 5, 2008

    Gee a match would have cleaned up that gasoline a lot faster.

  • BeHappy Mar 5, 2008

    I hope the driver is going to be okay. I have to say though that for the most part the drivers of these trucks are very cautious and attentive but I have seen some of them do some pretty stupid things. I have seen them riding way to close to other vehicles and I have about had my front end taken off by one on the way to work one morning. The guy had no reason to come over on me. He just knew he was bigger and apparently did not care that I was there. I have the privilege of dealing with them every day because I travel US 70 through Selma towards Clayton so a morning without one of them somewhere around me on the road is rare. I do give them plenty of room and always remember how dangerous their job is. I sure don't want to end up tangled up with one. Hopefully this driver will make a full and quick recovery.