Road closure: Businesses effected by deadly Hwy. 22 tanker accident

January, 2018 Posted in Community

By Mary Owen

After wildfires impacted local businesses last fall, a tanker crash that closed Hwy. 22 may have additional repercussions.

“The fatal crash near Idanha spilled gasoline and subsequently (closing) Hwy. 22 is already impacting our local businesses,” said Allison McKenzie, executive director of GROW-EDC, of the Dec. 15 rollover accident. “Many of our businesses along Hwy. 22 get a boost from holiday traffic and are already feeling the pinch of this highway closure.”

The stretch of highway between Santiam Junction and Idanha was closed for repairs, environmental reparation, water viability checks and other response measures. The highway re-opened to through traffic the night of Dec. 21, nearly a week after the accident.

“Many of our local businesses rely on that winter bump in sales when holiday travelers hop in their cars to drive to or from Central Oregon or to play in the snow,” McKenzie said. “Visitors have their own traditions about favorite places to stop along the way. Getting the highway open again is so important for our region, and we appreciate all ODOT, DEQ and their partners have done to make this happen.”

The tragic accident occurred about 11 p.m. near milepost 64 involving a 2001 Kenworth Central Petro fuel truck. A preliminary investigation by Oregon State Police revealed the vehicle lost traction on the icy road and rolled over coming to a stop, blocking the highway. The fuel tank ruptured and caught fire, spreading to nearby brush. More than 11,000 gallons of fuel was spilled and 300 feet of roadway was damaged.

A Gates Fire Department fire engine responding to the scene also lost control on the icy road and rolled onto its side. Additional collisions in the area resulted in no injuries, according to officers at the site.

The driver of the fuel truck, identified as 58-year-old Ronald Edward Scurlock from Bend, lost his life.

“This accident was not only sad for the family who lost a loved one, but was an environmental concern for the immediate area and downstream communities, including Salem,” McKenzie said.

OSP was assisted by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Idanha Fire Department, Gates Fire Department, Salem Regional HazMat and Oregon Department of Transportation.

Katherine Benenati, Western Region Public Affairs Specialist for the DEQ, reported that samples taken at drinking water intakes downstream from the tanker crash site along the North Santiam River near Detroit showed no presence of gasoline three days after the crash.

The Department of Environmental Quality coordinated response efforts with EPA, ODOT, Salem, the Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Office of Emergency Management, Oregon State Police, Oregon State Fire Marshal, Linn County Sheriff’s Office, Linn and Marion counties, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, The Confederated Tribes of the Siletz, The Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde and
The Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs
tribes, and others, Benenati said.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.