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February 5, 2014

Local trucker hurt in Pulaski tanker wreck

Gas spill shut down US 27 for more than 12 hours

SLOANS VALLEY —  A Whitley City man was flown to Lexington after the tanker he was driving early Thursday morning overturned about two miles into Pulaski County.

    Lucas Gregory, 24, told first responders that he had swerved the Cumberland Lake Shell gasoline tanker to miss animal and the tanker caught the guardrail and went over a 36-foot embankment.

    The 2012 Peterbilt truck ended up on its top, perched precariously on top of a cluster of trees that it had knocked over with Gregory, who was wearing his seat belt, trapped underneath. Meanwhile, gasoline was pouring out from the ruptured tanker, which had been carrying approximately 8,250 gallons, and pooling underneath the truck, in some places a couple of feet deep.

    Public Safety Director Tiger Robinson said the accident was dispatched at about 4:30 a.m. The last GPS reading from the truck was about 3:30 a.m. so it’s possible that Gregory had been stuck underneath the truck for a substantial amount of time before help arrived, according to Somerset-Pulaski County Special Response Team Chief Doug Baker.

    Baker said that the Tateville Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene shortly after the call-out, and brought their foam system to help contain any potential fires that could erupt from the vehicle.

    About five members of the Rescue Squad, including Public Safety Director Tiger Robinson, and three Tateville firefighters, went underneath the vehicle to pull Gregory from the cab.

    “Tiger and the guys went under that truck, lying in gasoline, in 4 degree weather, being sprayed with water and foam, and stayed under there for about 45 minutes cutting the guy out,” said Baker. “In my whole career, I’ve never seen anything like that.”

    The extrication took place around 5:30 a.m. Gregory was then airlifted to the University of Kentucky Medical Center for treatment of internal injuries and broken bones. As of Monday afternoon, he remained hospitalized at UK in fair condition.

    The state SAFE Patrol brought salt and sand to help reduce slickness on the roadway. US 27 was shut down all day until approximately 6:30 p.m. Thursday as crews at the scene removed the truck and cleaned up the spill. Traffic was rerouted via West KY 90 in Burnside and East KY 92 in Pine Knot.

    Leading the accident investigation is Kentucky State Police/Vehicle Enforcement Officer Duffy Sutton who was assisted at the scene by KVE officer David Burton, Dennis Jackson and Sgt. Greg Reams, as well as the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department.

    In addition to the Special Response Team (Hazmat 12), Pulaski Rescue Squad, Tateville Volunteer Fire Department, Parkers Mill Fire Department, Burnside Fire Department, Kentucky Fire Marshal’s Office, Kentucky Highway Department, and the Kentucky Environmental Response Team all responded to the scene.

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