I-80 closed in both directions due to tanker crash
Washington man killed
by Wyoming Highway Patrol
Original post December 8, 2008 | Updated December 9, 2008
(Rawlins) Monday, December 8, 5:16 PM:
A crash of a tractor trailer tanker hauling a hazardous load of propane necessitates the closure of Interstate 80 between Rock Springs and Rawlins. The tractor trailer combination is currently in the median at mile post #184 which is 3 miles west of the Creston Junction Interchange or approximately 28 miles west of Rawlins.
At this time Troopers are on scene and have confirmed at least one fatality believed to be the driver of the tractor trailer combination.
The tractor trailer tanker first jackknifed on the roadway and then rolled as it went into the median. The tanker is leaking propane and the load of propane will need to be off loaded before the tractor trailer combination can be up righted and towed away from the scene.
For safety reasons, Troopers have closed Interstate 80. This road closure will be for an unknown duration of time. We ask that motorists be patient as there is no detour around the crash site.
For more information contact Sergeant Stephen Townsend, Wyoming Highway Patrol, phone: 307-777-4306.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008 Update:
Mt. Vernon, Washington resident Flint R. Howerton, 36, was killed on Monday, December 8, in an accident on Interstate 80 west of Rock Springs. The accident occurred around 3:55 PM approximately 11 miles east of Wamsutter in Sweetwater County.
Interstate 80 was icy at the time of the crash with windy weather conditions. Howerton was westbound traveling in the driving lane and was operating a truck tractor with a full sized trailer tanker combination that was also pulling a second 24 foot pup tank trailer. The front tanker was loaded with 7,500 gallons of isobutane and the pup was loaded with 5,479 gallons of isobutane. The truck was owned by Turner Gas Company.
Isobutane is also known as methylpropane or 2-methylpropane. Isobutane is an extremely flammable liquefied gas. It is used as a gas for refrigeration systems, especially in domestic refrigerators and freezers, and as a propellant in aerosol sprays.
Howerton was in the process of changing lanes into the passing lane when he lost control of his combination. The combination went into a slide going into the median as it jackknifed. The full sized trailer disconnected from the combination and rolled over ¾ of a roll and intruded into the cab of the truck tractor. The rear pup trailer rolled ½ time and the tank was breached which caused a leakage of an unknown quantity of the isobutene in that tank. Mr. Howerton’s truck was the only vehicle involved in the accident and he was the sole casualty. He was killed in the accident. It is unknown if he was wearing a seatbelt.
For public safety reasons, both east and westbound lanes of Interstate 80 were closed at approximately 5:00 p.m. while the leak was plugged and the load of isobutane was off loaded from both tankers onto another tanker truck. Interstate 80 re-opened to normal traffic at 4:45 a.m. Tuesday morning. Howerton had obtained the load of isobutane in Sinclair and had a final destination of Salt Lake City, Utah.
Follow-up inquiries may be directed to Sgt. Stephen Townsend, Wyoming Highway Patrol, (307) 777-4306.