Quick-thinking fuel truck driver averts major highway crash

A fuel truck lies on its side on Goat Island late Sunday morning following a narrow escape from a head-on collision with a sedan, right, that crossed the centre line. Miraculously, both drivers sustained only minor injuries in the incident. photos by Alicia McCutcheon

60 L fuel spill contained quickly

GOAT ISLAND – At approximately 11:40 am on Sunday, June 16, several emergency crews responded to a collision involving a fuel truck and a sedan on Goat Island, just north of the Little Current swing bridge.

The McDougall Energy fuel truck was overturned, the smell of gasoline permeating the air, while 50 feet away a silver sedan sat with its front driver’s side  crumpled from the impact with the truck. Miraculously, both drivers sustained only minor injuries in the crash and were taken from the scene by ambulance to the Manitoulin Health Centre for observation and later released.

Because there was some spillage from the fully-loaded fuel tanker, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Resources attended the scene on Monday to assist in cleanup.

“We got the call at about 11:40 am,” said Northeast Town Fire Department Chief Duane Deschamps. “When we arrived on scene, we saw EMS assisting the driver of the sedan and the driver of the tanker was just crawling out of his cab.”

Fire Chief Deschamps noted the smell of gasoline, which became his crew’s priority. They located the leak at the bottom of the tank, plugged it and contained the almost 60 litres that had leaked from the damaged truck. None of the spill made it to the nearby waterway, he explained, but was contained on the road’s shoulder.

On Monday morning, Day Group Environmental Services removed the contaminated material and replaced it with clean fill.

“It’s that call you always talk about and train for, and never hope you get,” observed Fire Chief Deschamps. “Things couldn’t have worked out better. It was a successful turnout, no one was seriously injured.”

Traffic was stopped for one-and-a-half hours, both ways, until 12:15 pm when the road was reopened to one lane of traffic. The road was closed again briefly at 10:30 pm Sunday night when the truck was removed from the roadway.

The fire chief thanked the public for their cooperation and patience while his crews responded to the accident and subsequent minor spill.

Constable Ford expressed praise for the way in which the driver of the truck, Dwayne Douglas,  handled the situation and tried to avoid the sedan which had crossed the centre line into his path.

Unrelated to the accident, the driver of the car involved in the crash died later that night. 

There are no charges pending, Constable Marie Ford of the Manitoulin Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) told The Expositor.