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Truck driver charged with negligent homicide in death of fellow trucker in fiery I-94 hazmat crash in North Dakota

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Authorities in North Dakota have charged a truck driver for his role in a fatal crash that occurred near Mapleton on Wednesday.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol (NDHP) says that 52 year old Ontario resident Yuhai Zhu has been arrested on charges of negligent homicide in the death of B.C. resident Randall Buxton, 72.

The fatal crash occurred around 1:45 p.m. on March 15, when Zhu was operating a Volvo hauling a tanker filled with ethylene glycol (green antifreeze used as plane de-icer). NDHP says Zhu stopped for unknown reasons in the right lane of traffic on westbound I-94.

Buxton was operating a Peterbilt hauling a large piece of HVAC equipment. He swerved left while approaching the Volvo in the right lane of the interstate, but still struck the tanker. The Volvo was pushed off I-94 and partially into a ditch.

Buxton’s truck caught fire and he was not able to escape from the cab. He died at the scene.

Zhu wasn’t hurt in the crash.

“There was a fire that resulted and obviously, unfortunately, one of those drivers was unable to get out of that truck. It’s a very disturbing scene. Obviously then we have the hazmat incident going on in the same location at the same time. So, it’s just a very, very difficult scene to go through,” NDHP Capt. Bryan Niewind said.

An estimated 6,500-6,700 gallons of ethylene glycol leaked into a ditch as a result of the crash.

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