BENNETT, Colo, (CBS4) — A highway was closed for nine and a half hours Saturday while workers recovered a 9,000-gallon propane tanker that rolled off the road after a head-on collision with a pickup truck.
Less than one mile of Highway 36 was closed just southeast of Bennett’s town limits between 1st Street and Kiowa-Bennett Road. It was first closed at approximately 5 a.m. but re-opened before 2:30 p.m.
The driver of a pickup truck allegedly crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic and struck the semi tanker head-on. One deputy and several firefighters who responded to the scene reported the smell of alcohol on the pickup truck driver’s breathe, according to Adams County Sheriff’s Office Commander Karl Smalley.
That driver, Smalley said, is lucky to be alive. The pickup truck was destroyed in the crash.
“I was expecting a serious injury or maybe fatality,” Smalley said after seeing the pickup truck’s damage.
The semi tanker rolled approximately 50 feet down an embankment. The driver was able to climb out of his truck’s cab and was not seriously injured.
The pickup truck driver was the only person transported to a hospital from the crash. His condition was not known.
The tanker did not suffer significant damage, nor did it leak, said Bennett Fire Protection District Chief Tim McCauley. Recovery of the truck required up-righting it and then off-loading the propane from it to another tanker.
“We have to do this very slowly and methodically so we don’t cause any further hazards,” McCauley said Saturday morning.
ACSO’s Smalley said the pickup truck driver is an Adams County resident who lives near the town. The accident is still under investigation and any charges, citations, or arrest will partly depend on the results of the driver’s blood tests.
The truck is from a Sterling company, he added.