Department of Public Safety Trooper Odie Phillips said the incident happened about 10:30 a.m. Monday on Farm-to-Market Road 1653, just north of the intersection of Farm-to-Market Road 858.
Phillips said the Expressway transport tanker truck, driven by Calvin Maurice Childress, of Killeen, was headed from Waco to a gas station in Van. Childress, 37, was driving northbound, and took a left curve in the roadway too fast, Phillips said. His truck began to slide and overturned.
The 8,500-gallon-capacity truck was full, and was punctured as it rolled off the roadway. Phillips said between 2,000 and 4,000 gallons leaked onto the ground.
“He said once it stopped rolling, he got out and started running,” Phillips said.
Childress broke a finger and sustained minor bumps and bruises but was taken by ambulance to a local hospital as a precaution, Phillips said. Attempts to determine which hospital he was taken to and his condition were unsuccessful Monday night.
Four volunteer fire departments, the Tyler Fire Department's hazardous material team and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality responded to help clean up the spill. The Texas Department of Transportation, DPS, Red Cross and the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office also responded.
Corley said the foam is generally used in structure fires to help suffocate the flames, but in this instance, the foam helped keep fumes down and helped limit the possibility of sparks and ignition. Several layers were applied to the ground, but the foam is different than water in that it is less likely to spread the gasoline further.
Crews then called a new tanker truck to transfer the gasoline left inside the tanker, using a backhoe to dig out portions.
Then two wrecker trucks worked to overturn the truck and slide it onto a flatbed trailer for transport, he said.
While crews worked, tanker and engine trucks from Van, Dixie, Ben Wheeler and South Van Zandt volunteer departments stood by just in case. Corley said there were about 25 firefighters and 14,000 gallons of water on standby.
He said after the wreckage was cleaned up, it would be up to the hazmat team and TCEQ to continue cleanup efforts, Corley said.
Corley said gasoline is easier to clean up because it evaporates easier than diesel or black oil, which is heavier and more likely to soak further into the soil.
Phillips said as of 8:30 p.m., crews were pulling the truck from the scene, but there was still standing gasoline in the ditch.
TxDOT was called to close the roadway for the night, Phillips said. He said a crew will be on scene this morning to mark underground cables and gas lines before TCEQ would be able to begin cleanup efforts.