The tanker was hauling 9,000 gallons of isobutane, a highly flammable liquid. Since the trailer on the tanker was made before 1970, it had no rear guard to help prevent damage in the event of a crash – the valves used to transfer the isobutane were damaged, so clean-up crews were unable to safely release the liquid.
Instead, the crew had to perform a “vent and burn,” which involved a controlled explosion of the tanker.
“This team came together, vetted every possible avenue to get this done,” said Mayor Kip Holden. “They laid plans out and thank God the plan worked perfectly and thank God we have the quality of people and the capability right here in Baton Rouge.”
The isobutane was ignited around 11:45 PM and successfully burned off. However, the surrounding area was evacuated in the event of an accident. People were returned to their homes around 3:15 AM, after all the isobutane had burned off at 1:30 AM and clean-up was successful. The interstate was re-opened by 6 AM.
No one was killed in the accident, but the driver of the 18-wheeler and the driver of the flipped car suffered minor injuries. They were released from the hospital on Thursday.
Since the accident, many in Baton Rouge have started calling for a loop to help direct city traffic. Mayor Holden replied, “I think we need to analyze everything. Everything should be on the table and look at whether or not there’s some other ways to lessen the impact on people.”
Sherri Lebas, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development agreed. “Any infrastructure improvements help more traffic in and around an area like this.”
Based on the results of a preliminary investigation, both the driver of the car and the driver of the 18-wheeler will be cited. The car driver will be cited for reckless operation of a vehicle, or failure to maintain control of a vehicle, as he lost control of his car and hit the retaining wall. The 18-wheeler’s driver will be cited for following too close.
Neither driver was suspected of drug or alcohol use at the time of the crash, so were not tested.
If you or a loved one have been in an automobile accident and suffered injuries, you may need legal assistance. The experienced lawyers at the Strom Law Firm specialize in laws surrounding car, truck, and SUV accidents, so contact us today. We offer free consultations to help get you on the right path. 803.252.4800.