Last week, Siemer Enterprises driver John G. Birkner, 53, of Coulterville, Illinois, was traveling eastbound on U.S. 50 near Mt. Sterling, Missouri, when his truck was hit head-on by a runaway trailer.
The trailer, loaded with distiller’s grain, came loose from a 2006 Kenworth driven by Jeffrey C. Strzelecki, 51, of Eldon, Missouri, who was traveling west on U.S. 50.
According to the Gasconade County Republican, initial highway patrol reports stated that the trailer had “sheared off at the hitch,” causing it to fall away from the tractor. All 5 bolts had been sheared away, the report stated.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Tye DeCramer told the newspaper, “The driver looked in his rear-view mirror and saw the trailer slide into the oncoming truck.”
“The impact tore loose the trailer’s hydraulic lift boom which tore into the engine compartment of Birkner’s truck. Hydraulic fluid from the boom and diesel fuel from Birkner’s tractor was contained by Owensville firemen who shoveled the spilled grain into berms. MoDOT personnel handled the disposal of the leaking hazardous materials,” the Gasconade County Republican reported.
Birkner was transported via ambulance to Mercy Hospital Washington with facial and head lacerations but is otherwise in stable condition.
“I’m surprised,” Tom Robb, a dispatcher for Siemer told the newspaper after having seen photographs of the wreck, “Thank God he came out alive. The truck can be replaced. He can’t. He’s a good driver.”
A stretch of U.S. Highway 50 was shutdown for three hours while crews cleaned up the wet grain from the roadway.