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Fuel Truck Crash Causes Oil Spill In Park

Big Thicket National Preserve

National Park News

A fuel tanker truck crashed on a highway next to the Big Sandy Unit before dawn on Thursday, September 25th, killing the 51-year-old driver. The bulkheads that separated the gasoline from the diesel fuel in the tanker were ruptured in the crash and just over 3,500 gallons of the mixed fluid poured out of a broken hatch lid and into the park. The fuel ran downhill into a forested wetland area, where it killed vegetation and wildlife, including fish, amphibians, reptiles and other species. Resource management specialist Haigler “Dusty” Pate spent Thursday and Friday monitoring the cleanup, which was done by a private environmental company. The cost of the cleanup is estimated to be at least $300,000. The accident was investigated by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Big Thicket rangers assisted with the road closure and enforcement of the safety perimeter until the hazmat team determined that it was safe to reopen the road. The incident occurred while the Hurricane Ike Type III team was still in the process of clearing thousands of downed trees from roads, parking areas, trailheads and trails within the park. Work on the Beaver Slide trail only a few hundred yards from the crash site had to be postponed due to safety concerns.


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