Crash of erratic tanker on I-70 kills driver

Photo by Gretel Daugherty—Firefighters with the Clifton Fire Protection District look over a tank truck that rolled into the median of Interstate 70 while heading west Wednesday morning. The wreck killed the 52-year-old driver, who was a resident of the Grand Valley. The truck is owned by a Fruita company.

The Colorado State Patrol said alcohol intoxication may have contributed to a crash involving a tanker truck that careened off Interstate 70 Wednesday near Clifton, killing its driver.

A 52-year-old Grand Valley man, whose identity was withheld pending next-of-kin notification, was behind the wheel of a westbound tanker that went off the left side of the roadway at mile post 35 and rolled into the median around 10:45 a.m. He was thrown from the cab during the rollover and pronounced dead at the scene, the State Patrol said.

The crash happened approximately 10 minutes after a vehicle with volunteers of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department phoned in a report of a reckless driver involving the same tanker, Trooper Don Moseman said. The group reported the tanker struck a guardrail westbound on I-70 in De Beque Canyon, but it continued on before drifting on and off the roadway at least twice, Moseman said.

Troopers still were trying to locate the tanker when the crash was reported.

“We’re very lucky nobody else got hurt today,” Moseman said.

An eastbound vehicle was struck by debris from the crash, but nobody was injured, the State Patrol said.

Moseman said there was concern the tanker might be hauling energy-industry production water. The State Patrol said in a news release Wednesday night the tanker was empty. The truck is owned by Fruita-based Stateline Trucking.


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