The driver of a tanker truck was hospitalized late Wednesday morning with critical injuries after overturning on Interstate 75 in Florida between 31st and 41st streets.
Thomas Grattan, 71, of Brooksville, Florida was hauling 8,700 gallons of liquid asphalt traveling southbound, crossed onto the northbound lanes and crashed into a ditch, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
“Once they lose control, you have one opportunity to make a correction in that size of the vehicle unfortunately he was unable to do that,” Trooper Ken Watson told WTSP.
The truck overturned and spilled 7,600 gallons of asphalt oil, almost the tanker’s entire load, which was heated to nearly 800 degrees.
Grattan was taken to Blake Medical Center suffering from burns, according to the FHP. The driver told troopers he either blacked out or passed out and doesn’t remember the wreck.
Firefighters sprayed blankets of foam to keep the oil from spreading. Emergency crews spent roughly 9 hours removing the remaining fuel from the truck.
“There are 3 separate holes in the tank so now it has to be sucked out,” Capt. Jerry Jensen said.
A spokesperson from the Department of Environmental Protection, says workers will remove the water and contaminated oil.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
“We’re not sure if it’s mechanical, driver error or medical condition with the operator of the vehicle,” Watson said.