Tanker crashes, burns in Plateau Canyon
A Colorado State Patrol trooper said speed was a suspected factor in the crash of a semi tanker hauling energy-industry production water, which caught fire and spurred brief concerns about possible contamination of Plateau Creek on Friday.
The tanker, operated by Grand Junction-based Knowles Enterprises, was northbound on Colorado Highway 65 when it apparently lost control while taking a right-hand curve at mile marker 58 in Plateau Canyon, roughly three miles from the interchange with Interstate 70, according to Trooper Brad Latchaw.
The semi careened off the roadway, knocking down utility lines before the semi’s cab burned in a gasoline explosion.
The accident happened around 12:30 p.m. and closed the highway in both directions for roughly five hours from the De Beque cutoff to I-70.
Roughly one third of an acre was burned in the cab fire.
Latchaw said the tanker’s load did not leak into nearby Plateau Creek, which feeds into the Colorado River.
The driver escaped the cab and was walking around when Plateau Valley firefighters arrived at the scene, according to firefighter Mike Lorsung.
The driver was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital with minor head and leg injuries.
Trooper Tim Farber said the driver had reported to his dispatcher the tanker’s load shifted as he lost control of the semi.
Neither drugs nor alcohol was suspected as a factor.