ALBERTVILLE, Ala. (WHNT ) — After a long day and a longer night the scene where a tanker truck full of fuel crashed into a ditch is now cleared.
The truck tipped into the ditch around four o’clock Wednesday afternoon, blocking traffic on 431 in Albertville for two miles. Traffic was diverted, and residents were cleared from homes and businesses. The truck was carrying nearly 8,000 thousand gallons of fuel, and responders were cautious against an explosion.
Traffic wasn’t allowed back on the road until six o’clock Thursday morning.
“Officer told me I couldn’t turn right because of an accident, a truck in a ditch, and I realized it was my driveway,” Larry White says.
The truck slid into the ditch that is adjacent to his driveway. White says while officers were asking residents to clear the area, he stayed.
Responders worked through the night to get the tanker out of the ditch, and pump the fuel from it. Thursday Albertville Police Chief Doug Pollard says crews are cleaning up the fuel that spilled, and says they will be for the next few days. There’s no word yet as to how much fuel was spilled into the ground and water in the ditch.
Chief Pollard says as bad as this accident was, it could have been a lot worse. Traffic was stopped for a school bus when the tanker came down the hill. Chief Pollard says the driver swerved into the ditch to avoid hitting other cars with a load of fuel that could have ignited. “He elected to take the ditch to avoid hurting anybody else,” Chief Pollard says. “He could have killed himself.”
As for White, he says there are a lot of accidents that happen in his front yard, but this one was a sight to see. “It was bad news for the guy, I hope everything goes good for him,” White says.
The Albertville Police Department says there were nearly 100 people working the wreck. The driver of the truck was trapped inside for almost two hours. Police identify him as Christopher Lee Wilson of Rainsville. They say the company he was driving for is called Spirit Express, and officers say he was headed to Guntersville. Police say Wilson is expected to be okay.