A traffic accident in Mendocino County, just south of Humboldt County, turned into an oil spill when the overturned truck’s saddle fuel tank drained about 80 gallons of diesel fuel into the storm drain.
The crash occurred at 8:45 a.m. on Jan. 19 on US-101 in Mendocino County near milepost marker 103.90 (near Piercy). A truck-tractor combination vehicle driven by Rio Dell’s Robert Burrus and hauling lumber was traveling southbound when it drifted to the right causing the vehicle to travel off the west roadway edge of U.S. Highway 101. The vehicle collided with a guardrail and traveled down a steep vegetation-covered embankment toward state Route 271 before overturning. Passenger Kyli Howard of Eureka was treated for minor injuries at the Jerod Phelps Community Hospital in Garberville.
According to the Garberville CHP press release, the vehicle came to rest on its left side blocking both lanes of state Route 271. After the collision, it was discovered the saddle fuel tank had been compromised and subsequently approximately 80 gallons of diesel fuel spilled into a near by storm drain. Responding personnel implemented preventative measures to prevent further contamination of the spill, Due to the collision and subsequent spill, both lanes of state Route 271 were closed at Hwy 101 for clean-up and recovery of the truck tractor combination. A unified incident command was established on scene and was comprised of the following agencies: California Highway Patrol, Caltrans, Mendocino County Department of Health and Leggett Valley Volunteer Fire Department.
This collision remains under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.