Trucker injured after rolling gas tanker released from hospital

Published: Apr. 27, 2013 at 1:25 PM EDT|Updated: May. 1, 2013 at 4:21 PM EDT
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The scene of the accident.
The scene of the accident.

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The man pulled from his overturned, leaking gas tanker on Interstate 26 early Saturday has been released to the hospital.

Medical University of South Carolina officials said 26-year-old William Wieters was released from the hospital on Tuesday, two days after being listed in serious condition.  South Carolina Highway Patrol officials said he suffered non-life-threatening injuries during the wreck.

Jason Washburn witnessed the accident and pulled the trapped Wieters from the truck, which was leaking many gallons of gasoline from its 8,700-gallon tank.

Senior Trooper Bridget Wyant said Wieters' 18-wheeler carrying a double tank of diesel fuel and gasoline overturned, spilling gas everywhere, following a two-car collision near exit 191 eastbound around 2:52 a.m.

Acting quickly, Washburn pulled Wieters away from the leaking truck, offering words of encouragement along the way.

Washburn said, "You got to work with me. You got to try to get out of this situation before this thing explodes, it's full of gas. He just kept calmly telling me, sir thank you."

After taking a closer look, Washburn noticed Wieters' arm was badly injured and wrapped it.

Wyant said the 19-year-old driver of the 1999 Pontiac involved in the accident was not taken to the hospital.

Wieters will be charged with driving too fast for conditions.

Washburn said he saw a car driving very slowly down the interstate when the truck slammed into the back of it. The collision caused the tanker to roll multiple times.

While it was initially estimated as much as 4,000 gallons of fuel was spilled, officials now say they believe it to be considerably less. An audit of the tanker and the amount of fuel recovered will be made to determine how much was lost.

Wyant says the fuel spilled along the side of the road, but not on the actual roadway. The collision did cause damage to the road.

Officials closed the interstate at exit 187 eastbound while crews worked to clean up the spill and wreckage. The crews vacuumed the spill and will return Sunday to dig up contaminated soil.

Wyant says the Department of Health and Environmental Control was notified.

Berkeley County sheriff's deputies went door-to-door Saturday morning warning residents along Rudd Road to stay inside due to the harmful vapors.

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