By TODD GLASSCOCK
A tractor-trailer rollover on southbound U.S. Highway 281 sent the truck's driver to the hospital and resulted in a spill of more than 5,200 gallons of combustible petroleum distillates into a ditch.
David Wayne Palmer, 45, of Mineral Wells, was transported to Palo Pinto General Hospital with minor injuries after the 2007 Volvo truck tractor he was driving struck an embankment and overturned around 2:40 a.m. Tuesday on U.S. 281, three miles south of Mineral Wells, said Gary Rozzell, Texas Department of Public Safety public information officer.
Palmer was in stable condition at the hospital, Rozzell said.
Palmer was southbound on U.S. 281 when he drove off the roadway, struck the embankment of the west side bar ditch and overturned, Rozzell said. Investigating troopers at the scene were uncertain at the time what caused Palmer to drive off the roadway, but no citations were issued. Palmer was the only person in the tractor-trailer.
A driver for Buckley Oil of Dallas, which has offices in Mineral Wells, Palmer was hauling 4,097 gallons of Xylene and 1,202 gallons of a flammable liquid, all belonging to Advanced Chemical Logistics of Richland Hills, Rozzell said. Xylene is often used as a solvent by petroleum companies.
When the truck overturned, the top of the tank tore open causing all of the Xylene and the flammable liquid to spill into the ditch, he said.
Trooper Brian D. Durham of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement of Bridgeport was called in to assist with the investigation, along with Trooper Philip McKenzie of Mineral Wells, Rozzell said. Also responding were firefighters from the Mineral Wells Fire Department, as well as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Buckley Oil's hazardous materials cleanup contractors Cleaning Guys Environmental of Arlington.
“We were on stand-by for safety reasons,” said Mike Pool, Mineral Wells Fire Chief. “We were lucky not to have a fire.”
Cleanup crews will be out until about Friday, said R.J. Schwartz of Cleaning Guys Environmental. “We will be removing soil and shrubbery.”
The hazardous materials crews will work with the TCEQ to monitor soil quality at the site of the spill, he said.