Oil Slick - Tanker Truck Creates Mess on Highway

4-30-04 - An overturned tanker truck has emergency cleanup crews working overtime Friday in Pontotoc County. The accident happened on Highway 1, just south of Fitzhugh around 11:30 a.m.

Troopers with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol say the driver was northbound when he lost control of his rig and it slid onto the shoulder. At that point, the truck became separated from the tanker-trailer, which then flipped over twice. That caused 5,400 gallons of hot oil to spill onto the roadway and ditches.

A large portion of the highway was shut down completely as emergency crews from Ada and Fitzhugh responded, along with environmental cleanup workers. The spill was confined to a relatively small area and does not appear to be an immediate threat to the environment.

But the cleanup is going to be a lengthy job that could last for several days. Experts will use several loads of sand to soak up the oil, which will likely cost around $10,000. But if there is road damage, the costs could skyrocket towards $1 million.

As for the driver, he walked away uninjured. Troopers say inattentive driving caused the wreck.